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Industrial disease: Former teacher loses battle with mesothelioma

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An inquest has heard that a former teacher died after being exposed to asbestos whilst working as a teacher.

The woman from East Grinstead, West Sussex, died at her home on 7 February 2019.

At an inquest into her death assistant coroner for West Sussex, Joanne Andrews, concluded the woman died of an industrial disease. It was heard that her exposure to asbestos was likely to have occurred whilst working as a teacher for Croydon Borough Council.

In evidence read out by coroner’s officer the inquest heard how woman had worked at several schools and universities in London between 1969 and 1998.

It was believed that whilst working at one of these schools she had come into contact with asbestos.

In November 2017 she was diagnosed with mesothelioma and underwent chemotherapy. However, despite her battle against the disease the inquest heard she died at her home on 7 February 2019.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive, treatment-resistant cancerous tumour which primarily affects the pleura (lungs) and peritoneum (stomach). More than 2,600 people are diagnosed with the condition each year in the UK. Most cases that are diagnosed tend to be in people aged 60 to 80, and men tend to be more commonly affected than women.

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a general term used for a group of fibrous minerals known for their thermal resistance, strength and acoustic insulation. Several types of asbestos were commonly used commercially such as blue asbestos (crocidolite), brown asbestos (amosite) and white asbestos (chrysotile).

The symptoms of mesothelioma can often take up to 40 years to develop and most commonly present as: a persistent cough, breathlessness, wheezing, chest pain, fatigue and weight loss. In cases of peritoneal mesothelioma, symptoms could include stomach pain, stomach swelling and nausea. It is most commonly diagnosed on chest xrays, CT scans and by taking biopsies.

Johnathan Steventon-Kiy, specialist industrial disease lawyer, says:

“It is well known that asbestos was widely used in industrial settings. However, it was also used in schools and hospitals. Very sadly, cases of those who worked in schools and hospitals, such teachers and healthcare professionals, are now being diagnosed with asbestos related diseases. The effects of mesothelioma are devastating and it is important that an experienced specialist asbestos disease solicitor assists the Claimant, or their estate, to ensure that the correct amount of compensation is received. The specialist solicitors in Biscoes Industrial Disease team have many years of experience pursuing these sorts of cases.”

Contact our specialist personal injury, medical negligence and industrial disease solicitors on 0800 413 463 or visit for more information. You can also follow us on twitter using the handle @biscoesmedneg

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.