Portsmouth, U.K.—After just three months of battling the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, a former dockyard worker in the United Kingdom passed away last December. His family wants his death to raise awareness of the dangers facing those who might have been exposed to asbestos on the job.
Diagnosed with the rare but fatal disease in September, 2008, Raymond Parish was 72 years old when he succumbed to mesothelioma, a cancer almost exclusively caused by the naturally occurring mineral asbestos, which is often used as insulating additive to building materials. His family was shocked at the toll the disease took on him in just months.
“He seemed the healthiest person you could hope to meet,” his wife Christine says.
On December 3, Mr. Parish went to the Queen Alexandra Hospital to have fluid drained from his lungs, a common treatment to relieve some of the painful symptoms of mesothelioma. However, his health deteriorated quickly. After being on oxygen for three to four hours a day, he found himself breathless.
The Parishs’ two daughters, who live abroad, were unable to return home to see their father as his condition worsened.
“He never came home,” Mrs. Parish says. “Just two days later he was dead.”
Mr. Parish worked at the Portsmouth dockyard for over 30 years. For 25 of them, he served as a boat engineer. He then worked in the dockyard’s office from 1987 until his retirement in 1996. It was at the dockyard that he was exposed to the asbestos that later killed him.
“In the 1990s, Ray was tested for pleural plaques, which he had, and we received a small one-off payment as a result,” Mrs. Parish says. That wasn’t enough. “I am speaking to solicitors, as I feel it’s unfair Ray died as a result of doing his job, and I have lost my carer, and my husband of 46 years.” She added, “Raymond’s death should help raise awareness about asbestos and how it can affect people.”