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Former Nurse Suffering From Asbestos-Related Illness Appeals For Ex Colleagues To Help Investigation

Mum-Of-One Coming To Terms With Terminal Cancer In Battle For Justice


By Suzanne Rutter

A former nurse coming to terms with the devastating news she is suffering from an incurable asbestos-related cancer is calling for anyone who worked with her to come forward with information about how asbestos was used in the hospitals she trained at in the 1950s and 1960s.

Margaret Mary Daly, of Ferryhill in County Durham, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, in September 2012 following tests and scans at Bishop Auckland General Hospital.

The mum-of-one was a trainee nurse at Shotley Bridge Hospital in Newcastle between 1959 and 1964 and at Whittington Hospital in Archway in London, between 1964 and 1969. She has now instructed specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help her find out how asbestos was used at the hospitals and why more wasn’t done to protect her from the deadly dust.

Margaret began her nursing training at Shotley Bridge Hospital aged 16 in 1959 and worked in prefabricated huts situated away from the main hospital building, which included about 20 wards and a theatre. Her training involved working in different hospital departments, including medical, radiotherapy and surgery.

She then moved to Whittington Hospital in London where she studied to be a midwife. Margaret says the midwifery unit was housed in a dilapidated old building separated from the main hospital.  She lived in specially-built accommodation for trainee nurses until 1969.

Isobel Lovett, from Irwin Mitchell representing her, said: “Asbestos-related diseases are the biggest occupational killer of all time and it can take decades for victims like Margaret to develop the debilitating conditions for which there is sadly no cure.

“We hope to speak to as many of Margaret’s friends and colleagues who trained with her at the Shotley Bridge and Whittington Hospitals so that we can help Margaret get the justice she deserves before it’s too late.”

Margaret, who retired from nursing age 40 due to ill health, first started to show the symptoms of mesothelioma in July 2012 when she suffered constant back pain and was referred to the chest clinic at Bishop Auckland General Hospital. Further tests and scans in September 2012 revealed she was suffering from mesothelioma.

The condition means she now feels constantly breathless, suffers chest pains and has lost a lot of weight. She said: “The news I’m suffering from this terrible illness came completely out of the blue and I was really shocked to hear it could have been caused by asbestos exposure.

“The Shotley Bridge and Whittington Hospitals were really old and decrepit buildings, particularly the nurse’s accommodation at Whittington.

“I now feel really breathless all the time and have to sit down and catch my breath as even getting up to answer the door can knock me for six on a cold day. Although I’m very headstrong and like to do things for myself my family are scattered around the country so it’s often hard to cope on my own. Luckily my neighbours are fantastic and help me out.

“I hope the other nurses, doctors or hospital staff I worked with will come forward with information about how asbestos might have been used at the hospitals so that I can finally get some answers about why I’m suffering this terrible illness.”

Anyone with information about the conditions at Shotley Bridge and Whittington Hospitals in the 1950s and 1960s should contact Isobel Lovett at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 279 0104 or email isobel.lovett@irwinmitchell.com.