Many people have only heard of malignant mesothelioma via late-night television ads for mesothelioma attorneys, but for victims of the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma is a harsh reality. Victims of asbestos-related diseases may have worked in widely disparate environments, yet they share a sense of betrayal and hurt at their employers’ and their employers’ suppliers failure to reveal what they knew about asbestos’ dangers. A typical case was recently heard in a United Kingdom courtroom, where the husband of an office worker at a steel foundry was seeking compensation for medical expenses and the loss of his wife.
The case of Mr. and Mrs. Thacker was heard in the United Kingdom. It involved a woman who died of mesothelioma in 2014, and was filed by her husband. The two had met while both her working at the Atlas Steel Foundry in the mid-1960s: she was an office worker and he was an engineer, working at the foundry. According to a deposition provided prior to Mrs. Thacker’s death, as well as in evidence provided by Mr. Thacker and other witnesses, the foundry made extensive use of asbestos blankets in order to keep steel casings warm. The blankets were in a state of constant disrepair, constantly shedding dust, and none of the employees of the foundry were provided with any type of protection from the dust, though some workers tied handkerchiefs around their mouths. The foundry was not ventilated.
Speaking to how his wife, an office worker, would have been exposed to the carcinogenic material, Mr. Thacker said that she was charged with the delivery of memos to her boss and would thus enter the most heavily-contaminated area of the foundry several times a week. He pointed out there there was also a time clock that she needed to check on a regular basis. That information, as well as additional evidence provided by other witnesses, convinced the judge hearing the case that exposure to asbestos in the foundry was the cause of her mesothelioma, and that the risk of that illness was entirely foreseeable.
Mesothelioma is a disease with a known provenance and cause. It is entirely preventable, and anybody who has been diagnosed with it or any other asbestos-related disease has good cause for outrage. If you or somebody you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you need information about support and resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.