Asbestos continues to be present in hospitals across the UK meaning more people are at risk of exposure. In 2014 we wrote that hospital staff were at risk of ‘casual’ asbestos exposure every day. Sadly, the risks continue as BBC London now say that 94% of hospitals in London have asbestos in them.
7 doctors and nurses:
Andrew Lawson was a Consultant Anaesthetist who passed away from mesothelioma after working in hospitals for years. He initially struggled to identify when he would have come into contact with asbestos. However, in 2010 he wrote:
“It seems that there may have been a lot of asbestos in the tunnels at Guy’s Hospital where I spent six years training. Everybody – students, nurses, doctors and porters – used the tunnels. One wonders how many of my contemporaries will get the same disease?” Of four doctors who trained at Guy’s Hospital and who subsequently developed Mesothelioma in the past five years…I am the only one left alive.”
BBC London state that since 2011 approximately 1000 people in London have died from mesothelioma. Of these people, 7 were doctors and nurses.
We will never know how many other non-medical staff developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos whilst staying in hospital.
Is this a ticking time bomb?
Jerry Swain, the acting national instructor for Unite’s Construction Center, has described the situation as a ticking time bomb.
Asbestos was widely used in the construction of public buildings throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Because asbestos is present in so many buildings, it would be an almost impossible task to completely remove it. To do so would also cost a large amount of money.
The government says that asbestos is ‘safe’ if left undisturbed in a good state of repair. Arguments which suggest that white asbestos is not dangerous are unfounded. Whilst undamaged asbestos may not be a significant risk if left undisturbed, much of the asbestos in hospitals has been there for many years and so is subject to deterioration. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure and all exposure poses a risk, however small. Leaving asbestos in place in buildings naturally leaves the people in those buildings a risk. This may be doctors, nurses or patients in a hospital or teachers and pupils in schools.
Many people believe that asbestos is a thing of the past, but this is very much a misconception.
How can we help?
If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma compensation claim for any asbestos related disease, then please contact us today. You can do so by calling our Freephone number: 0800 038 6767 or going to our contact page.