16 June 2021 | Comment | Article by Phoebe Osborne

Carpenter receives six-figure settlement & Court Order for private mesothelioma treatment

A carpenter, with terminal cancer, has received a six-figure settlement and a Court Order for private medical treatment so he can continue taking part in a MiST3 clinical trial, which could lead to a new future standard of care for mesothelioma patients.

David Squires, who’s 64, was diagnosed with stage 4 mesothelioma in late November 2019, while still working as a self-employed carpenter. The married father-of-three, and grandfather, instructed specialist asbestos law firm, Hugh James, to help him pursue a legal claim against his former employer, G. B. Brudenell Limited, which is based in Cambridgeshire.

 

David was negligently exposed to asbestos while working there as an apprentice carpenter in the 1970s. He routinely cut Asbestolux which he and his colleagues installed in private dwellings and public buildings including local authority schools before the substance was eventually banned in 1999.

A month after his diagnosis, David participated in the BEAT-Meso clinical trial at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. This is a clinical trial comparing standard chemotherapy with standard chemotherapy and Bevacizumab an immunotherapy drug. His solicitor, Phoebe Osborne, is part of the specialist asbestos-related disease team at Hugh James. She signposted him and his family to the clinical trial and to the national charity Mesothelioma UK for support from specialist nurses and other patients.

This early access to specialist nursing care, together with David's express wishes that he wanted to aggressively treat his condition and was prepared to travel outside of Cambridgeshire to do so, was instrumental in ensuring David could access private medical treatment that was not available to him whilst his legal claim was getting underway.

As David’s civil legal claim progressed, David stoically embarked on further clinical trials at Addenbrooke’s, eventually exhausting all local clinical trial options available to him by October 2020. By November 2020 David’s treating oncology team referred him to Professor Dean Fennell at the Leicester Cancer Research Centre to be considered for enrolment on the MiST3 clinical trial.

David has responded remarkably well to this clinical trial and is now wishing to tell others about his mesothelioma journey from diagnosis through to participating in clinical trials whilst pursuing his civil legal claim.

Hi solicitor, Phoebe Osborne, continued to determinedly litigate David's claim before the Royal Courts of Justice issuing court proceedings. His former employer denied liability for the claim and witnesses were sought to support and corroborate David's recollections.

After a tenacious legal battle, Phoebe secured supportive expert engineering evidence and, in May 2021, she helped secure David a six-figure settlement together with provision for future non-NHS private medical treatment via a Court Order.  Therefore, if David requires treatment outside of a clinical trial this can be funded privately via his settlement.

Phoebe Osborne, Senior Associate at Hugh James commented:

“It’s heartening to witness David participating in this clinical trial at Leicester, which will hopefully pave the way for additional treatment options to be available in future on the NHS. Now that David's legal claim has been successfully concluded with provision for private medical treatment, should he be unable to continue under the present NHS clinical trial regime, David is now able to spend his time and energy concentrating on his clinical trial whilst making precious memories with his family.

Obviously, this is a beneficial outcome for David and his family, but not everyone is able to bring a civil legal claim. It is for this reason David's participation in the MiST3 clinical trial, even after his legal claim has settled, is vitally important as he is continuing to help medical researchers improve the standard of care for future mesothelioma patients.”

Speaking of his participation in the MiST3 trial, David Squires said today:

“Before being enrolled on MiST3, I felt so worried about my future and that of my family. I was angry that my former employers were denying liability for my exposure to asbestos and my prospects looked bleak. I discussed at length with my treating oncologist at Cambridge my desire to access all clinical trials - even if it meant me travelling outside of Cambridgeshire, as I was desperate to do anything to extend my life expectancy.

I have seen how my own immune system has responded under the MiST3 trial. Within a few months of starting this treatment my three tumour areas have dramatically shrunk in size. I am absolutely overjoyed, and I still can’t believe the massive effects this combination of immunotherapy drugs is having on me - the tumours have shrunk to a fraction of the size – from 6cm to 1cm.

When I was first diagnosed, I was given 12 months to live, but I am continuing to outlive my prognosis and I'm determined to stay on this clinical trial as long as possible so that I can continue to enjoy quality time with my family and enjoy my hobbies.

As dreadful as this diagnosis can be, I feel proud to be involved in shaping the care and treatment of future mesothelioma patients who may not have the financial means or grounds to make a legal claim. I want to ensure equitable access to the same medical treatments whether privately or via the NHS and hopefully my participation in the MiST3 clinical trial will lead to a new future standard of care.”

For more information or advice, visit our Asbestos page.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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