A recent court ruling resulted in an employer having to contribute towards the hospice care received by a former employee who had contracted mesothelioma.
The man had worked at the Deptford power station more than 50 years ago and the court heard that it was during the course of his employment there that he was exposed to asbestos fibres. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006 and spent the final three months of his life at the St Joseph’s Hospice in East London. Mesothelioma is a deadly disease, almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. It can manifest itself decades after exposure and is usually at an advanced stage by the time symptoms appear.
Judge Thornton said the man was ‘provided with essential palliative care which it was both reasonable and necessary for him to receive given his terminal decline in health as a result of the malignant mesothelioma for which the defendant was wholly and directly responsible in law’. He found the man's former employer liable and, ruling that the claim could include ‘the reasonable value of gratuitous services’, ordered it to pay £10,000 directly to the Hospice.
This ruling, if it is not the subject of a successful appeal, will mean that in similar circumstances hospices will be able to be recompensed for the valuable work they do free of charge.
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