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Written on 26th March 2020

Boyes Turner's mesothelioma and asbestos disease claims solicitors were instructed by John following his diagnosis of asbestos related diffuse pleural thickening. John had been suffering with shallow breathing and had often been out of breath over the years. He was given a diagnosis of pleural plaques initially. John also suffers with lymphoma for which he is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Pleural thickening diagnosis

In around January 2014 John’s respiratory symptoms got substantially worse. He underwent further testing and was advised that there were some changes on his x-rays suggesting inflammation at the base of his left lung. He was diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening.

John also suffered with fluid on his chest known as a pleural effusion. He underwent a biopsy to remove the fluid and so that the Doctors could assess whether or not there was any evidence of a malignancy such as, for example, mesothelioma. The results were inconclusive. John therefore underwent a thoracoscopy at Southampton General Hospital but there was no evidence of any malignancy. John has undergone regular review by the hospital due to the presence of pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening and his pleural effusions. 

Unfortunately, John’s condition deteriorated in 2016 and a CT scan showed a large mass on his chest. He underwent a biopsy which confirmed that the mass was thought to be a recurrence of his lymphoma and he was commenced on steroids and chemotherapy. Whilst undergoing general review of his recurring lymphoma in 2017 it was noted that John had evidence of a nodule in his right upper lobe. The lobe was considered to be a lung cancer and John underwent a vats right upper lobectomy.

Where was he exposed?

John’s claim was brought against Gnitrow Limited and Harland & Wolff Plc. Gnitrow Limited was formerly known as J. S. White & Co Limited and was a company based on Medina Road in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. John worked for them between 1958 and 1963/64 as an Apprentice Marine Fitter and Turner and then as a qualified Marine Fitter and Turner, before he was made redundant in 1964. 

The company was well known for the construction and refitting of ships. John worked in the fitting out of boilers, engines and gear rooms on ships.  Asbestos was used to insulate many machines and pipes and he worked on boilers which had been lagged with asbestos. John had to remove asbestos from pipes, boilers and machinery in order that he was able to carry out repairs. He would use a saw or hammer to break through the asbestos and then would pull it off with his hands. He also worked in close proximity to laggers who were mixing asbestos on board the ships. John described working in a very dusty environment and described how he would have snowball fights with his work colleagues. John said that at times it was like a Christmas snow scene and there was always a thick cloud of asbestos dust in the atmosphere. 

John later worked for Harland & Wolff from 2 November 1964 to 17 December 1964. John worked on various boiler rooms, engine rooms and gear rooms and was exposed to asbestos dust in a similar way as when he worked for J. S. White. John recalled working on the Reina Delmar, various Union Castle Line ships, Andes, Bremen and Cross Atlantic Liners of the day. John describes that the atmosphere was dusty and full of asbestos fibres.

The evidence 

Boyes Turner obtained medical evidence from an expert in asbestos related diseases who confirmed that John had a diagnosis of asbestos related diffuse pleural thickening. It was inconclusive as to whether John’s lung cancer was as a result of his asbestos related disease or as a result of another condition such as his lymphoma. 

The defendant’s did not make any admissions of liability and court proceedings were underway.

John accepted an offer to settle his claim for £50,000 on  a full and final damages basis. This will enable John to focus on his health and treatment without the additional worry of ongoing Court proceedings.

The team were pleased to be able to help John and his family to reach a successful conclusion in his claim for compensation following asbestos exposure.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with pleural thickening or any other asbestos related disease, we may be able to help. Contact us by email for a free initial discussion.