Information Sought On Several Stores
The family of Michael Hemmerdinger who died from asbestos-related cancer are appealing to his former colleagues for information on how he was exposed to the substance that claimed his life.
Michael, who came from Sale, Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
Following his diagnosis, Michael instructed asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and whether it could be linked to his work history. Sadly Michael deteriorated very quickly after his diagnosis of mesothelioma and died in May last year, at the age of 81, before he could obtain the answers he sought. His family are now continuing the search in Michael’s memory.
Ahead of this year’s Action Mesothelioma Day on 1 July, Michael’s family has joined with their legal team in appealing for any of his former colleagues to come forward with information that could aid the investigation. They are keen to trace anyone who worked with Michael in a number of Boots stores in which he believed he may have come into contact with asbestos.
There remains a deadly legacy of asbestos in public and private buildings which was highlighted by a recent report of the DWP Select Committee into the HSE management of asbestos. The HSE has estimated that the total cost of deaths from mesothelioma is over £3billion. The authors of the report want the government to commit to a strategy to remove all asbestos from non-domestic buildings. Campaigners would like tighter regulation of asbestos in buildings, and the contractors that remove it, to include higher fines for breach of asbestos regulations.
Expert Opinion“Michael’s diagnosis and subsequent death from mesothelioma has understandably left his loved ones upset and with a lot of unanswered questions.
The presence of asbestos in our public buildings continues to be a major cause for concern and there is a clear need for the various regulations that were intended to result in the control and safe removal of asbestos to be improved and better enforced to prevent other families going through the same pain as Michael’s. Mesothelioma is a particularly unpleasant disease and currently has no cure.
We would therefore be grateful if any of Michael’s former colleagues would contact us with any information that could help us with our investigation. Any detail, no matter how small, could prove vital in helping the family obtain the answers they deserve.”
Katrina London - Senior Associate Solicitor
Michael joined Boots as a trainee pharmacist in 1962, before becoming fully registered one year later.
Over the years, he worked as a manager at many Boots stores. Between 1966 and 1970, he was based at the Alderley Edge store, near Prestbury in Cheshire. He recalled it was a very old building with a dusty cellar and a boiler which he had to stoke every day. He believed the boiler and pipework attached was lagged with asbestos.
Between 1970 and the mid-1980s, Michael oversaw various store refits. These locations included Finchley, Hammersmith, Rochdale and the Arndale Centre in Manchester.
Michael began to feel unwell around September 2020, complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. Following tests he was diagnosed with mesothelioma on 1 December, 2020, and died on 9 May, 2021.
Prior to his death, Michael had been married to Dorothy for 30 years and in recent years he had been her carer. He was father to two sons and one daughter – Chris, Anthony,and Tracey,
Anthony said: “The past year has been incredibly difficult for the family since losing dad. He was the best husband, father and stepfather. We still can’t believe he’s gone.
“It was a huge shock to us when he was diagnosed and awful to watch him deteriorate so quickly, knowing there was nothing we could do. To then find out that his work could be to blame was another blow. Dad believes that he came into contact with asbestos during his career, however he was too ill towards the end to recall much detail. I would really appreciate it if anyone who worked with my dad would come forward and help us.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Katrina London at Irwin Mitchell on 0161 838 7262 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Held every year, Action Mesothelioma Day brings together victims of the disease, those who have loved ones affected, healthcare professionals, support groups and those working to understand mesothelioma and find a cure. The day aims to ensure the public are also aware of the terrible impact mesothelioma can have on sufferers and their carers.