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‘We’ve Been Robbed Of Our Marriage’ Says Widow Of Doctor Who Died Of Asbestos Cancer

Expert Lawyers Seek Information About Birmingham University and Hospital Site


By Dave Grimshaw

The widow of a doctor, who died in the hospital where he trained, has called on his fellow students and the building’s maintenance staff to come forward in the hope that they can help in her battle for answers.

Dr Ian Pardoe lost his fight with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, in February last year aged 51, just months after marrying Monisha Coelho.

The loving father of three and step-father to two from Birmingham was diagnosed with the industrial illness caused by inhaling asbestos dust in June 2011 after suffering breathing problems.

Ian had instructed industrial illness and asbestos law experts at Irwin Mitchell after his diagnosis, but the medical researcher and specialist acupuncturist died just a few months later as his disease progressed very quickly. Today his widow vowed to continue the battle Ian started.

Studying medicine at the University of Birmingham in the 1980’s, Ian remembered that the students regularly used basement corridors as a short cut to get from the University to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he did his training.

He remembered seeing metal pipes running throughout the underground pass which he believed were lagged with asbestos and that when maintenance work was carried out in the basement area, it created a lot of dust.

Iain Shoolbred, an expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office leading the case, said: “Ian’s family have been left shocked and devastated by their loss and understandably want to see justice done.

He was determined to beat the illness and true to his interest in medical research, he even underwent experimental treatment to try and pro-long his life, but sadly the cancer was just too aggressive.

“We are very keen to hear from any maintenance workers who worked in the underground tunnels connecting the university to the hospital, as well as other former students, as we believe they may hold vital evidence about the presence of asbestos and the condition of the pipework that could help Ian’s family win justice.

“Mesothelioma is an industrial illness for which there is sadly no cure. Companies have been well aware of the dangers of asbestos since as far back as the 1950s and certainly by the 1980s, so there is no excuse for the public not being protected from the material.”

Ian, who had three children from a previous marriage aged 23, 21, and 17, began suffering from shortness of breath in March 2011 and after a number of scans was diagnosed with mesothelioma three months later.

He thoroughly researched the condition to try and fight the disease and underwent specialist treatment both in the UK and Birmingham, but sadly these treatments were not enough to stop the disease.

His wife Monisha, who has two children aged 13 and 11, said: “Ian spent his life trying to pro-long the lives of others and caring for them and it seems so unfair that he has been taken from us so quickly through something he had no control over.

“He was a charming, funny and charismatic man who managed to be a dedicated husband, father and step-father, as well as a successful owner of his own medical research company.

“When we were told his diagnosis of mesothelioma we were absolutely devastated, particularly as Ian knew how serious it was, but he was determined to try and fight it.

“After the diagnosis, Ian thought long and hard about where he might have come into contact with asbestos and he knew from the outset that he had been exposed to the dust in the underground corridors he used as a student to get to and from lectures.

“I just hope anyone who remembers working in the corridor or using it like Ian did gets in touch because any information they have could be absolutely vital. Ian and I should have had a long and happy married life together, but sadly, we’ve been robbed of that and his children have been robbed of their devoted father at such a young age.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is being asked to contact Iain Shoolbred at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email iain.schoolbred@irwinmitchell.com

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.