Inquest Into Devon Man’s Death Found Cause To Be Asbestos Cancer
The son of a former cablehand wireman and trackman is raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos after an inquest found his dad died from asbestos-related cancer.
Patrick Ward, from Taunton, died from mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lining of the lungs most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Prior to his death, Patrick, 84, instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate following his diagnosis with mesothelioma, which was believed to have developed as a result of coming into contact with asbestos during his working years. Patrick was employed as a cablehand wireman for a number of telephone companies and also worked as a labourer and trackman for British Rail and Great North Eastern Railway.
An inquest concluded that the cause of Patrick’s death was malignant mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos.
Patrick’s son Paul, 54, is now joining his legal team in marking Workers’ Memorial Day by raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos in the workplace.
Expert Opinion“Losing Patrick has had a profound effect on Paul and his other son, Lee, who are struggling to come to terms with losing their dad to this terrible disease.
What happened to Patrick is yet another reminder of the devastating legacy left behind by asbestos, with people falling ill decades after coming into contact with the hazardous substance.
While nothing can make up for what Patrick went through, Paul is determined to share his story in the hope that it will help educate others on the dangers still posed by asbestos in the workplace. Workers’ Memorial Day seemed fitting to honour his dad’s memory.”
Laura Wilkinson - Solicitor
Patrick worked for various telephone companies, including Standard Telephone and Cables Limited and Plessey Telecommunication Limited, between 1957 and 1979 at locations all over the country including Fareham, Portsmouth, Gosport, Southampton, Chippenham, Bridgwater and East London.
He also worked for British Rail between 1979 and 1996 as a labourer at the Taunton Concrete Works, before going on to work as a trackman for the same company and then again for Great North Eastern Railway. He travelled all over the south-west region and Wales.
Patrick began to feel unwell towards the end of 2019, complaining of stomach and chest pains. He also developed a cough and had lost weight.
He went to see his GP and was referred for tests including a chest X-ray and CT scan in early 2020. The results showed chronic inflammation indicative of mesothelioma.
Patrick’s condition deteriorated over the next few months and he sadly died in December 2020.
At the time of his death, he was widowed and Paul lived with him. Paul said: “Before his diagnosis, dad had always been a very fit and strong man. He enjoyed walking into town most days and socialising at our local pub.
“I remember dad speaking about his symptoms, which I wasn’t overly concerned about at first. I simply thought it was just dad getting older and accepted he would suffer from the odd ache and pain.
“When we were told he had mesothelioma, it was a huge shock. Around early June last year was the real turning point in dad’s condition. I started caring for him more and he started hallucinating as a result of the side effects of the medication he was on to control his pain. It was really upsetting to see him go through this.
“Dad would have a mixture of good and bad days, but after mid-September he was pretty much bedbound and needed around-the-clock care. A couple of weeks before he passed away, his condition had deteriorated further and he was in a lot of pain, although I didn’t expect him to go quite as soon as he did.
“It hasn’t been very long since losing him and I’m still struggling to accept that he is no longer here. While there is nothing I can do to change what happened, I want to honour his memory by sharing his story and hopefully make other people aware of the impact that the once widespread use of asbestos still has to this day.”
Workers’ Memorial Day is held on 28 April to remember those who have died as a result of their employment, and campaigns to improve health and safety standards in the workplace and increase protection for employees.