The case arose out of the death of a 64 year old man due to mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, in December 2007 after spending his final days being cared for in a North London Hospice dedicated to cancer patients.
Throughout his life he had worked as a carpenter, painter and labourer. In 1963, whilst employed as a painter for J Murphy & Sons Ltd, he was exposed to asbestos dust whilst sanding down and filling in walls in prefabricated housing containing asbestos. He was then exposed to further asbestos when working for them at a factory in Dagenham, cleaning debris from the guttering on roofs made from corrugated asbestos.
In August 2005 he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer on the lining of one of his lungs. He was eventually admitted to the hospice where he spent the last month of his life.
Rodney Nelson-Jones, partner in the Asbestos Claims Group at Fieldfisher, was instructed to claim compensation on behalf of the family. The firm was able to recover £170,000 from J Murphy & Sons Ltd, £12,500 of which is being paid to the hospice which provided him with care worth over £400 a day.
This is thought to be the first time that compensation has been recovered for a patient’s hospice care, which is usually funded by charitable donations. It has long been possible to recover compensation for the value of care provided by relatives. FFW’s innovation has been to extend this principle to charitable care provided by hospices. The firm plans to continue to claim the cost of hospice care in future mesothelioma cases.
Rodney Nelson-Jones commented:
“We are delighted to have been able to secure extra funding for the hospice. Hospices do a wonderful job and rely on charitable donations to provide much needed palliative care for cancer patients. We hope that this case will mean that they are now provided with an additional source of funding.”
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