Widow Calls For Husband's Former Colleagues To Help With Asbestos Investigation

Expert Asbestos-Related Illness Lawyers Helping Victim's Family To Find Answers

23.10.2014

The devastated widow of a former shipyard and contract worker who died from pulmonary fibrosis, believed to have been as a result of exposure to asbestos, has called on her husband’s former colleagues to help her understand how and when her husband came into contact with the deadly dust.

Father-of-six David Healey (also known as Dia) sought medical help on a number of occasions over a period of several years suffering with shortness of breath and chest problems. In late 2013 he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis – believed to have been caused by exposure to asbestos.

The 73-year-old, who was a well-known pub landlord in Barrow-in-Furness, deteriorated quickly following Christmas 2013 and passed away in May 2014, leaving his family devastated.

His wife, Susan, has now instructed specialist industrial illness experts at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office to investigate where David was exposed to asbestos and if any more could have been done to protect him. She is now backing the firm’s calls for her husband’s former colleagues to come forward with any information about the working conditions David was exposed to or how he came into contact with asbestos.

Between 1956 and 1971 David worked for a number of employers in the North West where Susan believes he may have been exposed to asbestos. These included The Barrow Steelworks between 1956 and 1965; British Cellophane between 1965 and 1966; Vickers shipyard in Barrow between 1966 and 1968; Glaxo from 1968 to 1969, before a second spell at Vickers between 1970 and 1971.

During his two periods at the Vickers Shipyard in Barrow David worked as a labourer. The yard is now operated by BAE Systems PLC. Before he died he told Susan that whilst he was at Vickers shipyard there was asbestos everywhere and no precautions were taken. 

After 1970 David moved on to work as a contractor and worked at Bowater Scott in Barrow-in-Furness, on and off over a number of years until the mid-1980’s  where he was involved in the maintenance and industrial cleaning of machinery while the premises were in shut down. He also undertook similar work at the Mars Factory in Slough and at other companies in the North-West. 

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office, representing David’s family, said: 
Expert Opinion
Mr Healey’s family have been left heartbroken by their loss and rightly want to seek justice after losing him so suddenly.

“Pulmonary fibrosis is often caused by heavy or prolonged exposure to asbestos dust. It causes a significant disability and discomfort and distress for victims like David. We know asbestos was regularly used for its fire and heat resistant properties in industrial settings.

“Sadly, a large number of employers did not alert workers to the risks of asbestos exposure despite knowing how dangerous it is. We hope that some of David’s colleagues will come forward and help us with our investigation so his family can gain the justice they deserve.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner

Wife Susan, 57, said: “My husband David was always active and it was devastating to watch his condition to deteriorate so quickly after Christmas.

“Hopefully anybody who worked with him at Vickers, Glaxo, Bowater Scott and the Mars Factory or elsewhere will come forward and help us to find out precisely what happened and how he was exposed to the asbestos the led to his condition and our family’s terrible loss.

“We hope that with help from our legal team at Irwin Mitchell that we will gain justice for David and honour his memory after losing him in such a terrible way.”

Anyone who may be able to help with information about the working conditions David was exposed to between 1956 and 1970 can contact Kirstie Wilson on 0191 279 0136 or email Kirstie.Wilson@irwinmitchell.com.

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.