Asbestos have been found to be the cause of the death of a sixty-five year old man, after he was exposed to the cancer-causing material as a teenager.
In September 2013, Charlie Glass (65 at the time) died at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin of mesothelioma cancer. He had been diagnosed with the disease in 2009, after receiving a CT scan. Charlie had fallen at work and injured his ribs, attending a VHI Swiftcare Clinic for treatment. X-rays were taken, which revealed more fluid on his lungs than what would have been expected. The fluid was drained, and the CT scan was taken-detecting the cancer.
Charlie required radical intervention, and was flown to London to receive chemotherapy and undergo surgery. After treatment, he returned home to Ireland and had several years of good health before the cancer eventually returned.
While being consulted on his cancer, Charlie was made aware of a link between exposure to asbestos and the type of cancer that he had. Aged 14 years old, Charlie was employed cutting asbestos sheets for use in fire doors for Brook Thomas Building Supplies. No protective clothing was provided for the workforce, and they often ate their lunches in the area where the asbestos was being stored. In the 1960s, when the work was being carried out, there was little public knowledge of the risk of exposure to asbestos.
The Dublin Coroner investigating the death-Dr Brian Farrell-was told at the inquest that when Charlie was initially diagnosed with cancer, he was told that he could possibly only have eleven months to live. In spite of this, he survived four more years. Dr Farrell was also told that both of Charlie’s siblings had previously died to asbestos related cancers, but had been exposed to the material in different incidents.
An autopsy of Charlie’s body was conducted, revealing “numerous asbestos bodies were identified in the lungs”. This confirmed the diagnoses of disseminated mesothelioma that had been given to Charlie. Dr Farrell returned the verdict that Charlie had died due to the asbestos related cancer, further commenting that it was an unfortunate coincidence that all three of the siblings had died from such a rare disease.