Shrewsbury, UK – A retired electrician has brought suit against his former employer, HM Prison Service, claiming that he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibers while on the job, and that his malignant mesothelioma is a direct result of that exposure.
Terence Clare worked as an electrician with HMP Holloway in London from 1976 to 2000, and during that time he often worked on electric cabling housed in a suspended ceiling area, which was heavily contaminated with asbestos dust. He also had to remove asbestos ceiling tiles, which released more dust into the atmosphere. Clare, 73, claims that the prison did not warn him of the dangers of working in an asbestos contaminated facility and that they did not provide him with proper ventilation or protective gear. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2008, after complaining of difficulty breathing and a persistent cough. According to the writ, he has a life expectancy of less than one year, as opposed to the average 11 years he might have lived had he not been diagnosed with the asbestos cancer.
He is claiming damages in the amount of £150,000 to reflect the lost years of his life. Mesothelioma sufferers typically live less than two years after being diagnosed with the deadly disease. Although treatment can be given to improve quality of life and ease the patient’s pain, there is little that can be done to stop the cancer or cure it. Mesothelioma is rarely diagnosed early enough to make curative surgery feasible; instead, it may lie latent within the body for years before becoming symptomatic. By the time of its eventual diagnosis, it has usually advanced too far to effectively treat. Almost all cases of mesothelioma have been directly linked to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is an insulating product which was once widely used in industries such as construction, metalworking, shipbuilding and automotive repair due to its high heat and fire-resistance, as well as its strength and durability. When the asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or broken, however, they can release the toxic dust into the air, where workers can breathe it in. The asbestos fibers lead to malignancies in the lining of the lungs called the mesothelium.