A 44-year-old United Kingdom physician who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma two years ago has won her legal case against the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS). She charged the government agency with negligence in failing to protect her and other staff from asbestos.
Doctor Predicts Epidemic of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Illnesses
According to Kate Richmond, her mesothelioma was the result of asbestos exposure that occurred when she was a medical student and junior doctor working at the Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, England. She warns that both staff and patients were impacted by the dust and debris that fell when maintenance staff removed asbestos ceiling tiles. She also described how she and other staff members had to walk through underground tunnels where asbestos-covered pipes were common, and worries that a “hidden epidemic” of asbestos-related diseases is likely to occur in the future in the United Kingdom.
The mother of two has not yet learned what compensation she will receive for her malignant mesothelioma, but with just months left to live she said, “They made an economic decision that condemned me to death. No amount of money can compensate for my children growing up without their mother.”
Multiple NHS Prosecutions and Claims Filed Over Mesothelioma Illnesses Since 2010
Reporters for British news organizations discovered that the NHS has been the subject of almost 400 compensation claims related to mesothelioma, asbestosis and similar illnesses since 2013, and the health service has paid out millions to victims. There have also been 13 prosecutions accusing the agency of breaches of regulations for handling asbestos. The Health and Safety Executive has reported 128 health and social care workers having died of the rare, asbestos-related diseases in the years between 2011 and 2017.
Dr. Richmond stated that though her illness appeared while she was young, the typical latency period of mesothelioma means that it could take years for others’ illnesses to appear. She hopes that her legal action will help them. “The trust knew about it and they chose to do nothing. It is terrifying. I have become sick relatively early, but there are lots of other people who I worked with who could be affected in the future. I really wanted to make things easier for them. I felt I had a duty to my colleagues.”
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and fatal disease that is a global scourge. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you need information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.