‘Fit And Healthy’ Mum-Of-Two Diagnosed With Terminal Mesothelioma
The family of a former York Hospital worker who died from asbestos cancer are appealing for information to help establish how she fell ill.
Brenda Mitchell, from Haxby, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July 2018. A terminal cancer of the lining of the lung, mesothelioma is most commonly associated with asbestos exposure, often decades previously.
Following her diagnosis, Brenda instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how she developed the illness.
Sadly, she died in December last year aged 68. An inquest concluded cause of death to be industrial disease. As a result, Brenda’s family including her husband Adam are now continuing the investigation alongside the legal team. In particular, they are seeking information on the working conditions Brenda may have faced during her time at York Hospital. She worked in the X-ray department between 1997 and her retirement in 2015.
Expert Opinion“Losing Brenda continues to have a profound effect on her family. It’s also yet another reminder of the terrible legacy left behind by asbestos, with many people falling ill several decades after their initial exposure.
Understandably, Brenda’s family have many unanswered questions which Brenda first sought prior to her death and we are determined to help them get the answers they deserve.
Asbestos is most commonly associated with the construction and heavy building industry, but it has also been found in hospitals, schools and offices. We would therefore be grateful if anyone who worked with Brenda at York Hospital would come forward with information on the conditions they faced.
Any detail, no matter how small, could prove vital to the investigation.”
Lucy Andrews - Associate Solicitor
Brenda began employment as a healthcare worker in radiology at York Hospital around 1997. She later qualified as an assistant practitioner in the X-ray department.
During her time there, various building work was carried out on York Hospital, including extensive upgrades to the area where Brenda was based. Prior to her death, she told her legal team that due to the nature of the building works, “there was regularly a huge amount of dirt and dust.” She also recalled having to “clean dust from chairs and window ledges in one of the waiting areas” and the waiting room “would be dusty on a morning” which Brenda would be required to wipe down.
Brenda began to suffer from breathlessness in April 2018. She was diagnosed with a chest infection, however it failed to clear after five days with antibiotics. She was admitted to hospital and fluid was drained from her lungs.
Around two months later, Brenda underwent a biopsy, and was diagnosed with mesothelioma at the start of July that year.
Brenda was given chemotherapy and immunotherapy, but sadly died in December 2020.
At the time of her death, Brenda had been married to Adam, 69, for 49 years. The couple had two daughters – Sam, 49, and Amanda, 42.
Adam said: “Brenda’s diagnosis left us all completely devastated. We were all really surprised as well as Brenda had always been very fit and healthy, going to the gym every week and teaching karate to kids.
“As a couple, we also enjoyed taking city breaks and holidays abroad, but as Brenda’s condition deteriorated, we weren’t able to go away and I know this really upset her.
“She was the most loving wife and mother and nothing will ever make up for losing her in the way we did. But we are determined to get the answers she deserved and honour her memory.
“We would therefore be so grateful to anyone that could help us.”
Anyone that can assist with this case is asked to contact Lucy Andrews on 01133 946782 or firstname.lastname@example.org