Witnesses Provide Vital Evidence To Support Case
The loved ones of a woman who died of an asbestos-related disease after being exposed to the deadly material at an Aylsham hospital have been successful in their battle for justice following a witness appeal.
Betty Farrow died from mesothelioma and extensive pleural plaques in June 2008, but a lack of evidence in relation to where she was exposed caused problems for her family as they looked to take forward a claim.
However, experts at Irwin Mitchell assisted in a witness appeal which helped them gather vital information that linked her condition to the presence of asbestos at St Michael’s Hospital in Aylsham in the late 1960s. A settlement has now been reached in relation to Mrs Farrow’s death.
David Cass, an asbestos-related disease expert at Irwin Mitchell who helped the family throughout the course of the fight, said: “It is excellent that we have been able to help Mrs Farrow’s loved ones in their fight for answers and justice over her death.
“The dangers of asbestos cannot be underestimated and employers must do all they can to protect workers from the potentially terrible impact of this deadly material.”
Irwin Mitchell was first approached by Betty’s daughter in August 2008, although doubts were raised over the possibility of a claim due to problems identifying when and how she was exposed to asbestos.
The inquest into her death reached a verdict of industrial disease following the family’s own opinion that her exposure took place at St Michael's Hospital, where she may have encountered the dust from pipe lagging in areas including the boiler house.
Another issue considered was that Mrs Farrow’s first husband was a boiler-man at the hospital, so will have regularly brought clothing home for washing that could have held traces of the fibres.
David explains: “While the family had a good idea that Betty’s experiences at the hospital were behind her illness, the health authority’s initial reaction to their claim was resistance on the grounds of a lack of evidence.
“Thankfully, through an appeal, we were able to make contact with four people who were able to provide statements on conditions in the boiler house that played a vital role in substantiating the claim.”
Evidence from witnesses was disclosed in September 2010, followed by a schedule of loss. A settlement in relation to the claim was negotiated with the East of England Health Authority this month.
“This was a hard-fought case which has taken several years to come to a successful end,” David added.
“I am delighted that we have been able to bring this claim to a successful conclusion, particularly as it is another which highlights a terrible scenario in which someone has died as a result of someone else’s negligence.”