Mum Wants Answers ‘Before It’s Too Late’
A nurse battling terminal cancer linked to asbestos has spoken of her race against time to secure answers as to how she contracted the disease which looks set to claim her life.
Jean White wants to find out precisely how she came into contact with asbestos believed to be responsible for her mesothelioma.
The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-four has instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether she was exposed to the hazardous material while working at Doncaster Royal Infirmary in the 1960s.
Jean, 73, is appealing to former colleagues at the hospital for information to help provide her and her family with the answers they deserve ‘before it’s too late’. She was known as Jean Wright when she worked at the hospital.
Expert Opinion“Mesothelioma is a hideous disease and Jean’s case is yet another tragic case which highlights the profound consequences that exposure to asbestos can have.
“While contact with asbestos is often linked to industrial environments, this is one of a growing number of cases that we are involved in that are related to work in public buildings including schools and hospitals.
“Jean is understandably devastated by her diagnosis. While medical staff cannot do anything for Jean with regards to curing her cancer, we at least hope we can provide Jean and her family with the vital answers as to the circumstances of her exposure before it is too late.
“We would be extremely grateful to anyone who may be able to help us with more information regarding the conditions she would have faced at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, especially during its redevelopment in the mid 1960’s.”
Simon Webb - Associate Solicitor
Jean, now of Gleadless, Sheffield, undertook a three-year nursing course at Doncaster Royal Infirmary from 1966 and lived in the nurses’ accommodation on site.
At the time the Thorne Road site was being redeveloped; old buildings and temporary huts erected during the Second World War were demolished making way for the current main building.
Jean recalled: “At the time the old hospital was in the process of being redeveloped and refurbished and I remember feeling very proud that I was among the first nurses to work at the new site.
“I distinctly remember that five huts were part of the old site, with several of them being used as surgical wards. Each of them had a coke stove in the middle which was used for heating and looking back now I believe that the flue pipe running up to the roof was made of asbestos.
“I was also still in the midst of my nurses training when the huts were knocked down and I can’t recall any effort that was made to reduce dust. The site in general was very dusty and I remember having to use my nurse’s cape as a shield from it all. In addition, I recall seeing lagged pipes in the hospital’s service corridors and remember how I would have white dust on my shoes when walking down these corridors, I recall that one of the porters who I was working with at the time was nicknamed ‘Johnny Beatle because of his Beatle haircut’.”
Jean left Doncaster Royal Infirmary in 1969. Shortly afterwards she married and moved to Sheffield.
Jean developed symptoms including pain and breathlessness in April 2016 and following a series of tests it was confirmed that she had developed mesothelioma – a form of cancer which affects the lining of the lung and is linked to contact with asbestos.
Speaking of her diagnosis Jean said: “It was very hard to take when I was told I had mesothelioma. I’ve tried to come to terms with my diagnosis and what that means for me and my family.
“I have so many questions about how I could have been exposed to asbestos and I believe I deserve answers, not just for me but for my family.
“It can’t change what has happened to me, but hopefully by having my former colleagues come forward, it will enable both me and my family to better understand how this happened.”
Anyone with information which may assist this case is asked to contact Simon Webb on 0114 274 4420 or email email@example.com.