Harpenden asbestos victim’s son hunts her workmates

THE son of a former local hospital worker who died after being exposed to asbestos is appealing for former colleagues of his mother to get in touch.

Chris Hanson is making the appeal of behalf of his late mother, 82-year-old Mary Hanson, of Oakfield Lane, Harpenden, who died in 2009 from mesothelioma, a fatal lung cancer which develops as a result of exposure to asbestos.

Mr Hanson believes that his mother was exposed to asbestos during her working life. Originally from Bramley in Leeds, she worked at Shenley Hospital from 1979 until the early 1980s.

Mary was an occupational therapist in the domestic rehabilitation unit of the hospital, involved in the rehabilitation of psychiatric patients with a view to re-integrating them into the community.

Prior to her death, she recalled that the domestic rehabilitation unit might have been contaminated with asbestos dust and that the cloakroom and washroom areas had asbestos-lagged pipes.

Mary had trained at St Andrew’s private hospital in Northampton in the mid 1940s and she then worked at the Woodlands Rehabilitation Centre in Rawdon, West Yorkshire, before moving to the occupational therapy wards of Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital from 1951 to 1955.

Mr Hanson is hoping that other employees of Shenley Hospital will be able to shed more light on the presence of asbestos in the working environment during his late mother’s employment.

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He is asking anyone with information to contact him through his solicitor, industrial disease expert Katrina London from law firm Irwin Mitchell.

Katrina said: “We would love to hear from anyone who worked with and knew Mary at the Shenley Hospital. Through no fault of her own, Mary was exposed to asbestos and suffered a terrible debilitating disease. We are appealing for help from any employees of these hospitals to aid our enquiries.”

More than 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year - a type of cancer that is almost always caused by asbestos exposure and does not respond well to treatment so options are limited.

Anyone who can help with information is asked to contact Katrina at Irwin Mitchell LLP on 0161 838 7262 or email Katrina.london@irwinmitchell.com