Appeal For Information On Working Conditions
The family of a father-of-two from Northumberland who died from asbestos-related cancer is calling on his former workmates for information to help establish how he developed the disease.
The family is making the plea ahead of this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day on Tuesday 28 April.
James (Jim) Hedley passed away in November 2018 at the age of 82. Doctors had suspected he was suffering from mesothelioma during a visit to hospital four months prior, but it wasn’t confirmed until the post mortem was carried out after he died.
Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos decades previously.
Following Jim’s death, his family instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at national firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and whether it was linked to his work history after the cause was confirmed to be industrial disease.
As part of the ongoing investigation, the legal experts are now seeking more information on the conditions Jim would have faced while working for Delta Metals in Ipswich.
Expert Opinion“Through our work we see many families devastated by mesothelioma, seemingly many years after exposure to asbestos has occurred.
Jim’s family have struggled to come to terms with losing him in the way they did and continue to hold questions regarding how he developed such an illness.
Sadly, nothing can change what happened to Jim, but we are determined to honour his memory by helping his loved ones establish where he could have come into contact with asbestos which ultimately led to his death.
We would therefore be grateful to anyone who could come forward and shed light on the working conditions he may have experienced.”
Samantha Shaw - Senior Associate
During his employment with Delta Metals, Jim was responsible for working with products at high temperatures in a laboratory.
He also carried out work for the North East Innovation Centre in Sunderland, taking on a role which entailed management duties as well as in the workshops. Here, people were able to bring in machines for manufacturing as part of a government run initiative.
Jim, who lived with his wife of 53 years Doreen Hedley, first began to feel unwell in early 2018. During a visit from the couple’s daughter Karen in July 2018, James became very breathless and contacted his GP. He deteriorated and he was taken to hospital where his lungs were drained.
He was given a CT scan and doctors suspected he was suffering from mesothelioma. The diagnosis was confirmed after he died.
Karen said: “It is still so difficult to accept that dad is no longer here. We all still miss him every single day.
“Towards the end, he was suffering a lot from breathlessness and it was horrible to see him deteriorate the way he did.”
Jim and Doreen’s younger daughter Lynne added: “While nothing will bring dad back to us, coming to terms with losing him has been made harder as we still don’t know how he went on to develop mesothelioma.
“We would be hugely grateful if anyone could help us by providing any information on his work places.”
Jim’s’ loved ones are making the appeal ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day on Tuesday, 28 April, a day to ‘remember the dead and to fight for the living’ by paying respects to those who have died as a result of their employment. The day campaigns to improve health and safety standards in the workplace, and increase the protection in place for employees.
Anyone with information that could assist with this case is asked to contact Samantha Shaw at Irwin Mitchell’s Cambridge office on 01223 791815 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.