Relatives Instruct Lawyers To Investigate Mum-Of-Three’s Death From Mesothelioma
The family of a former nurse who died of asbestos-related cancer are appealing for help to establish how she was exposed to the hazardous material.
Sheila Kirsopp, of Shotley Bridge, was a nurse at the former Durham County Hospital. The mum-of-three died of mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer linked to exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following her death, aged 87, her family instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how she contracted her cancer.
Sheila’s children, daughter, Lynn Hammal, 54; as well as sons Drew and Graham Kirsopp aged 59 and 57, are now marking the first anniversary of her death. They are appealing to their mum’s former colleagues for information about working conditions at the hospital.
Helen Jones, the specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Sheila’s loved ones said: “While some people may commonly associate asbestos with traditional, heavy industry, its use was widespread in public buildings such as shops, offices, schools and hospitals.
“Sheila’s family remain devastated by her death and have a number of questions about how she was exposed to asbestos.
“As part of our investigations we are looking at whether Sheila may have been exposed during her work as a nurse. Therefore we would be grateful for information about conditions at Durham County Hospital.
“We are determined to provide Sheila’s family with the answers they deserve and so any detail could prove vital.”
Sheila, who grew up in Gateshead, started as a volunteer cadet nurse in 1948. The following year, aged 17, she moved to Durham County Hospital to become a student nurse.
She was based at the hospital until 1953, following which she had several nursing jobs. Sheila and her late husband, Ted, then ran a residential care home in the 1980s.
Sheila started suffering with symptoms in March of 2019. Her symptoms consisted of pain in her lower right ribs which began to worsen over time.
Following tests, Sheila was suspected of suffering with mesothelioma in June 2019. Sheila died on 17 November last year following which a diagnosis of mesothelioma was confirmed by a post mortem examination.
Lynn said: “Before she died Mum thought she may have been exposed to asbestos at Durham County Hospital. Her work was very varied and she worked in all parts of the hospital.
“The nurses were Jacks of all trades in those days. It wasn’t just nursing, but cleaning, fetching meals from the kitchens and going to the laundries to get uniforms.”
Lynn added: “Mum spent her life caring for others. She was such a kind and compassionate person who adored her family.
“To see her at the end as the cancer got the better of her was heart-breaking.
“What makes coming to terms with her death even harder is the number of questions we still have about how she was exposed to asbestos.
“We know nothing can bring her back but we feel we need to honour her memory by finding out what caused her illness.
“We would be so grateful for anyone who could help.”
Anyone with information about working conditions at Durham County Hospital should contact Sophie Miller at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 434 0728 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by mesothelioma at our specialist asbestos-related disease section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.