The devastated family of a Surrey man who died from asbestos related cancer are appealing to his former workmates for help in establishing how he came into contact with the killer substance.
Patrick O’Brien, from Surrey, was 66 when he died on 14 August 2019 from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lungs associated with exposure to asbestos, less than a month after he was diagnosed.
Following the diagnosis on 17 July 2019, Patrick instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and how he may have gone on to develop the condition. Sadly, Patrick passed away before he could find the answers he was looking for.
Patrick’s family is now continuing the investigation by joining with his legal team in appealing to Patrick’s former workmates for information. The appeal comes as people across the world prepare to mark Action Mesothelioma Day, which takes place on 3 July and is held to raise awareness of the risks of asbestos and the impact that related illnesses have on lives.
The family is particularly keen to trace anyone who remembers Patrick from his time at Barclay’s Hotels Limited, where he worked from 1975-1980; in addition to any labourers who remember Patrick from his time with various building firms across south London throughout the 1970s.
Expert Opinion“Patrick’s story is another tragic example of the devastation caused by asbestos exposure, with the consequences only coming to light years after first contact with the substance.
Patrick spoke to us just days before he passed away, which shows his determination to discover the truth about his mesothelioma exposure and why his family wish to continue his search.
Unfortunately, due to the very short period of time between his diagnosis and death, Patrick was not well enough to pass on all the details about his working life, so any information former colleagues may hold concerning their working conditions could prove vital to the investigation.” Leah O'Keefe - Solicitor
Born in Vauxhall on 3 March 1953, Patrick grew up in Battersea and lived in Chelsea as a young man. Patrick married Jane (63), and they went on to have two children, Daniel and Emma. They lived in Chelsea until 1981 when they moved to Sutton in Surrey, they later moved to Cheam, Surrey in 1991 and finally to Tadworth, Surrey in 2015.
Patrick always wanted to work in construction and on turning 18 in 1971 started working for various firms in south London, including Henry Kent (Builders) Ltd; Trowel Trades (Building) Ltd and Southern Brickwork Ltd. He moved between several employers throughout the 70s, working on schools, hospitals, industrial buildings and hotels, depending on where the work was.
Prior to his death, Patrick recalled working at the Moorfield Eye Hospital, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital, in addition to helping to demolish a big railway building on Nine Elms Lane in the late 60s and early 70s.
From 1975-1980, Patrick was employed by Barclays Hotels Limited as a maintenance worker. He was part of a team of six engaged in maintenance work for various hotels in the group, everything from collecting old TVs, to complete refurbishments. He recalled a man called Bob (known by the team as ‘Jock’) and another workmate called Derek. He worked at hotels including Londonderry Hotel on Park Lane.
Patrick’s wife Jane O’Brien, said: “Losing Patrick in such a sudden and unexpected way was a terrible experience for the whole family. We had so many plans for the future and never dreamed something like this could happen. We miss him every day.
“Daniel noticed his dad was coughing noticeably and the first doctor’s appointment in February 2019 led to a chest X-ray which showed a shadow on the lung. We were told it was pneumonia and he was given antibiotics. When the symptoms didn’t go away a biopsy led to mesothelioma being diagnosed on 17 July and by 14 August, I have lost my husband and Daniel and Emma have lost their father.
“Despite the pain he was in, Patrick was determined to find out how he came into contact with asbestos but I don’t think either of us realised the disease would progress so quickly.
If we are to get to the bottom of this, Patrick’s former friends and colleagues could have vital information to help us find out what really happened. Patrick and I first met while he was working at Barclays Hotels Ltd and if anyone who remembers him from those days could come forward, Daniel, Emma and I would be so grateful. Nothing can bring Patrick back, but we would like to know the truth.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact either Leah O’Keefe at Irwin Mitchell on 0207 421 3998 or at Leah.O’Keefe@irwinmitchell.com or Taler Kelly at Irwin Mitchell on 0203 040 3432 or at Taler.Kelly@IrwinMitchell.com
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