Mesothelioma Widow Issues Plea to Missouri Lawmakers

It is nearly impossible for anybody who hasn’t witnessed a loved one’s struggle with mesothelioma to understand the pain and tragedy of the rare and fatal form of cancer. The disease lies hidden in the body for decades, slowly spreading through cells until its tumors become large enough to cause symptoms and be identified, and once diagnosed it is fast moving, cruel and relentless. This week, a Missouri woman who was recently widowed by the disease issued a public plea to lawmakers in her state, urging them to pursue a better understanding of the illness and reconsider a legislative move she fears they are about to make: her concern revolves around a proposed law that would make it more difficult for mesothelioma victims to pursue legal justice against those responsible for exposing people to asbestos.

Widow describes mesothelioma journey in effort to educate

The plea was written as a guest commentary in The Missourian by Linda Ruch, whose husband Frank died last February of malignant sarcomatous mesothelioma. He had worked as a union boilermaker and pipe fitter for decades in a variety of settings, all of which exposed him to asbestos. He was diagnosed in April of 2018 and underwent both chemotherapy and surgery to slow the tumor and relieve his pain, but those efforts did little to help. She describes his last months as “awful,” writing beautifully of their long marriage and the pain of watching him waste away, then goes on to explain that she is sharing this most personal of experiences in an effort to stop lawmakers from passing a bill that would work against asbestos victims, making it more difficult for them to pursue justice against companies that exposed people to the carcinogenic material.

Greater empathy needed from lawmakers

Mrs. Ruch explains that mesothelioma victims are currently able to pursue claims against asbestos trusts as well as individual lawsuits against those companies that have not established bankruptcy trusts, but that passage of the bill under consideration would place additional and unnecessary burdens and delays on victims who are already struggling and suffering. She points out that many of these companies were well aware of the dangers of asbestos, and says, “I think all the burden should be on them, not the victims.” As for those responsible for voting for or against the bill under consideration, her point is clear. She writes, “If our elected officials had lived in my house here in Jefferson County for 10 months, watching someone they love die a little each day, I don’t see how they could support this bill.”

Laws like the one under consideration in Missouri make what is already an excruciating experience for mesothelioma victims and their loved ones even harder. Fortunately, there are resources and compassionate people like the Patient Advocates at who are eager to help. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608 for information.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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