2 July 2020 | Firm news | Article by Natalia Rushworth-White
A patient with the rarest form of Mesothelioma and a grandmother with a terminal diagnosis have both decided to speak out for the first time about the trauma they’re facing because of exposure to asbestos decades ago.
Craig James and Eileen Inman are revealing their stories on Action Mesothelioma Day to raise awareness of the condition and to warn others of the dangers of exposure to asbestos.
Craig, who’s 61, was diagnosed with Testicular Mesothelioma in 2015 – the rarest form of the cancer - after being exposed to asbestos dust as a child through his father’s work as a mechanic. His cancer accounts for less than 5% of all mesothelioma cases.
Craig first noticed a swelling on his testis in February 2015. While surgery and treatment has removed his cancer, Craig is at risk of recurrence and he still suffers from unpleasant ongoing symptoms, including pain and lethargy.
He recalls being exposed to asbestos dust when his father worked with British Road Services at their depot in Corby, Northamptonshire. He would visit his father and watch him work on maintaining and repairing a fleet of lorries and blowing out old brake linings and then fitting new ones into the brake shoes. Both processes released asbestos dust into the workshop, and everyone there was exposed to the same. Craig was further exposed to the asbestos dust and fibres brought home on his father’s work overalls.
Craig contacted Solicitors at Hugh James to help him fight his case for justice. He received an out of court settlement, in May 2020, from British Road Services, who have not formally accepted liability
Eileen Inman, who’s 66, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2016 – 48 years after starting work at Marks and Spencer in Staines, Surrey. She worked there between 1968 and 1973. Eileen believes that she was exposed to asbestos when refurbishment work was carried out at the store and she was asked to clean up some of the mess, including broken ceiling tiles and sweeping up dust.
In 2017, Hugh James helped Eileen with her case. Marks and Spencer did not accept responsibility, despite a history of other cases brought against them under similar circumstances. She took her case to the High Court in London. Just before Christmas 2019, and a matter of days before the trial was due to start, Eileen was awarded a damages settlement of £275,000 from Marks and Spencer.
Her former employer also agreed to fund her immunotherapy treatment which she is currently undergoing. This financial assistance will help Eileen manage her devastating illness and hopefully buy her some precious extra time with her loved ones.
Speaking of her experience, Eileen Inman said today:
In my case I was exposed to asbestos as a teenager, unaware of the dangers and now it has changed mine and my family’s lives. I hope that, by holding Marks and Spencer to account, I might be able to help other people in a similar position to me, if they come forward early enough. It might help them pay for treatment and prolong their quality of life. I don’t know if I’m going to have the time to do that.
Craig James commented today:
Asbestos has blighted far too many lives. I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that my cancer was caused from visiting my dad at work and being exposed to asbestos dust on his overalls. I want to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure in the hope that it will help others.
Richard Green, Partner at Hugh James said today:
Sadly, Mesothelioma has taken Craig and Eileen’s health. While settlements can enable people it support themselves, it cannot undo the damage which has been caused by asbestos exposure. Action Mesothelioma Day is an important initiative which raises awareness of the dangers and life changing consequences people have suffered through asbestos exposure. I hope others are helped through learning about Craig and Eileen’s experience and fewer lives will be affected in the future by this devastating illness.