Stuart was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres mainly in the boiler house which contained asbestos lagged pipes. He often carried out his inspections by leaning against these pipes, which were covered in dust and debris. He also worked in the 'Tower Block' in the riser ducts where the cables and heating pipes were situated. Similarly, these pipes were also lagged with asbestos and he regularly came into contact with them.
Stuart also repaired asbestos ceiling tiles that were in poor condition. This often meant dust from the ceiling would contaminate his face and overalls.
Debris and dust remained on his overalls, which Stuart's wife Mary* cleaned as the college did not provide any laundering services. She often shook the overalls with her hands before washing them, releasing the dust and debris particles into the air. She washed at least two pairs of overalls weekly over the six years that Stuart worked at the college.
Stuart recalled that 'my overalls would have been contaminated with asbestos dust every week'. Neither Stuart nor his wife were warned of the dangers of asbestos.
Stuart only received a letter alerting him to possible asbestos exposure in 2011. The college stated that their recent Demolition and Refurbishment Asbestos survey in the Tower Block area showed asbestos debris in the risers, ducts and boiler room.
Mary suffered poor health in 2018, experiencing a cough and breathlessness. An eventual CT guided biopsy led to her diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. Intense chemotherapy caused her to endure loss of appetite during her final years of life. She previously enjoyed gardening which she could no longer do due to her diagnosis.
Mary's underlying condition of cerebral palsy was impacted by the diagnosis. She had to use her wheelchair more frequently due to her breathlessness.
Shaheen was able to bring a successful claim years after the exposure to show on Mary's behalf that the dust and fibres on her husband's clothes released into their home had ultimately led to her fatal contraction of mesothelioma. Mary suffered for 16 months due the disease and was robbed of 14.8 years of life that should have been spent with her husband, daughters and grandchildren.
Shaheen was able to recover the top end of damages due to the severity of Mary's symptoms in her remaining few months and her abdominal ascites. Towards the end of her life, Stuart was Mary's sole carer. This was pleaded by Shaheen to obtain a successful gratuitous care award.
Testimony from Stuart: "I would like to thank you and all your staff for all the hard work you all must have put in."
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