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In August 2017 Brian was diagnosed with mesothelioma having undergone months of investigations to determine the cause of his pleural effusions and breathlessness. Brian was 69 years old when he was given his diagnosis. He lives in New Zealand with his wife, having emigrated in 1993.

Exposure to Asbestos

Prior to emigrating Brian worked as a carpenter/joiner for a number of companies in England, predominantly based in the North West. In particular, he worked for a brewers from 1973 to around 1977.

Brian was employed as a maintenance carpenter/joiner at the brewers, he worked in the estates department and was responsible for repair and maintenance work within the brewery and associated buildings. He undertook work in the company’s own pubs, bars and restaurants, together with several residential terraced houses which were rented to staff.

As a part of his maintenance and repair duties Brian repaired and replaced corrugated asbestos roofing on a number of buildings. He used Big 6 asbestos sheets which he cut and fixed to the roof. He also made a number of different signs from asbestolux sheets which he cut in the joiner’s workshop using a circular saw.

Brian described that he was exposed to significant amounts of asbestos dust as a result of the work which he was undertaking as part of his job. He said he looked like a baker covered in flour, as cutting the asbestolux sheets generated substantial quantities of asbestos dust.

Following his diagnosis, Brian instructed us to pursue a claim for compensation on his behalf. We were able to swiftly identify the insurers and secure an early interim payment on account of damages for Brian.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Following his diagnosis of mesothelioma Brian underwent palliative chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the mesothelioma showed signs of progression despite the chemotherapy and therefore this treatment was stopped.

Not one to give in Brian pushed to be considered for alternative treatment and was considered to be an appropriate candidate for a clinical trial. However, at the time, there was no place for him on a Trial and therefore instead Brian was referred for consideration of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) single agent immunotherapy treatment. However, the clinic providing the treatment in New Zealand was only able to offer treatment on a privately funded basis.

We obtained evidence from an expert respiratory physician who specialises in mesothelioma, who confirmed that Brian was a suitable candidate for immunotherapy treatment. We presented the evidence to the insurers and were able to secure funding for Brian’s immunotherapy treatment which he commenced in March 2018.

Brian also received funding from the insurers for a consultation to consider whether radiotherapy treatment should also be administered.

Brian’s claim has been settled with agreement for the ongoing payment of his immunotherapy and other future treatment costs, with Brian having already been compensated for those treatment costs which he has already incurred.

When talking about the funding for his immunotherapy treatment and his compensation claim Brian said:

“Your success in gaining a fair settlement in compensation and reimbursement of past and future treatment costs and expenses has provided a more secure future for my wife and myself and securing future treatment costs is absolutely fantastic.

The generous early interim payments were a God-send, enabling me to make an early start and subsequent continuation on the course of Keytruda.

Had that money not been available it is unlikely that I would have been able to begin treatment.

The inclusion of past and future treatment costs have given back my full and fair compensation which will help greatly in whatever future life I have to enjoy.

You have been very professional and courteous dealing with me and brought my claim to a very successful conclusion”

Annabelle Neilson, accredited asbestos disease specialist in the Boyes Turner mesothelioma and asbestos claims team acted on behalf of Brian:

“A settlement Order has been agreed with the insurers and has been approved by the High Court. The Order enables Brian to continue to receive funding for the treatment of his mesothelioma and allows him to return to Court in the future should he encounter any problems with this funding.

At a time when funding for new drugs and alternative treatments is difficult to secure from the Government, this type of settlement is completely necessary for Brian’s future. In August 2019 proposals for the Government funding of Keytruda in New Zealand was still pending and therefore this treatment still remains available only if privately funded.

Without inclusion of Brian’s future treatment costs in the settlement, it is likely that he would have run out of funds to continue with the Keytruda and faced an extremely difficult decision., Brian has shown a good response to the Keytruda treatment and gained precious time to spend with his wife, and able to enjoy some of the things he loves to do”