A West Craven father-of-two who developed deadly lung cancer after years of being exposed to asbestos through his work has been awarded a six-figure sum in compensation.
Yesterday, which was World Cancer Day, the family of former plumber Eddie Heap (78), who first began working with asbestos more than 60 years ago, said incurable mesothelioma has taken away his independence. He struggles to walk any distance due to the disease, which was diagnosed after he became short of breath and was referred to a chest specialist by his GP.
MrHeap’s condition deteriorated so much so that he was rushed to hospital where he had one and a half litres of fluid drained from his lung.
Further tests were carried out and a biopsy confirmed that he had developed the debilitating illness.
His daughter Alex said: “Words cannot explain how shocked and upset we were when dad was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Unfortunately, we were all too aware of this horrific disease as my dad had already lost his brother-in-law to it. Mesothelioma has taken away all of dad’s independence, he can’t do the things he used to, which is so upsetting to see.”
Mr Heap was exposed to asbestos while working as an apprentice plumber for a national retailer between 1955 and 1959. He was responsible for the maintenance of pipes and heating systems, many of which were heavily lagged with asbestos insulation. He often worked in poorly ventilated areas, with asbestos contaminating his clothes.
Eddie could have first been exposed to asbestos more than 60 years ago, which goes to show just how long it can take for this disease to manifestSolicitor
Mr Heap also spent 12 months working as a plumber for a car manufacturer in the early 1960s where he would manually strip asbestos lagging from boilers and heating pipes.
He was never provided with protective equipment or warned about the danger of asbestos during his employment.
After Mr Heap’s diagnosis the family instructed Thompsons Solicitors to act on his behalf.
Alex added: “My family is so grateful to Thompsons Solicitors who worked with us at a time when we were really in a state of disbelief. Our solicitor ensured that the legal process was quick and stress-free so that we could concentrate on supporting dad.”
Mr Oliver Collett, of Thompsons Solicitors, added: “Eddie could have first been exposed to asbestos more than 60 years ago, which goes to show just how long it can take for this disease to manifest.
“At Thompsons, we understand how important it is to act quickly and work hard when an individual suffering from an asbestos-related disease comes to us. Asbestos claims are notoriously complex and, together with statements from Eddie, we were able to pinpoint exactly when and where his exposure took place, meaning that we settled the case and held his negligent employers to account within four months of working with the family.”