Hospitals are meant to be places of healing that exist to restore health to their patients. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case — particularly given that many older hospitals still contain asbestos.
Asbestos was widely used for much of the 20th century in countless building materials. But after researchers linked it to mesothelioma and other serious illnesses, the industrial world largely phased asbestos out of use in the U.S. Exposure to any amount of asbestos is a health risk, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Despite the obvious health risks, some communities still have hospitals that contain asbestos. Here is one current example: Sunderland, a city in the United Kingdom, has 28 hospital buildings with asbestos. These facilities include a children’s center, according to the regional newspaper the Sunderland Echo.
City hospital officials maintain that the material poses no health risk to patients, since it is properly managed. Nevertheless, there is some cause for concern. Many of the buildings in question contain large amounts of amosite, or “brown” asbestos — one of the most toxic forms of the substance.
The concern is that future renovation or demolition projects could release microscopic asbestos fibers into the air. If that happens, workers or patients could unknowingly inhale them. That is exactly what occurred recently in New Zealand, when contractors were exposed to asbestos while working on the roof of an earthquake-damaged hospital.
The workers were reportedly outraged to learn of the asbestos exposure. Additionally, they may have unknowingly put patients and hospital staff at risk by walking through active wards covered in asbestos dust.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe you were negligently exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.