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Mesothelioma sufferer secures settlement to cover future immunotherapy costs

The cost of future treatment for mesothelioma has been secured for a man diagnosed with the cancer

Cancer cell

26 November 2018

A man diagnosed with mesothelioma has secured a compensation settlement on behalf of his former employers which takes into account potential future costs for immunotherapy. 

John Hastie contacted asbestos solicitor Ewan Tant at Leigh Day in August 2017 following his diagnosis and Ewan went to see John at his home to take evidence regarding his asbestos exposure. 

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer, which is only caused by being exposed to asbestos dust. It can develop decades after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Following his diagnosis, John had researched the treatment options available. He discussed this with his treating consultant, and expressed an interest in immunotherapy. Immunotherapy for mesothelioma is still at a relatively experimental stage but there is a growing body of evidence which shows that some patients can benefit considerably. It is currently not available on the NHS except as part of a clinical trial and the costs of private treatment can be substantial.

John is doing well and is currently not receiving any treatment for his mesothelioma but he was very aware that he might be a suitable candidate for immunotherapy in the future.  However, if he did start treatment and it was not as part of a clinical trial, the costs could be substantial. 

Ewan worked to ensure that the settlement would allow John to return and recover further compensation if he needed to meet private medical costs for immunotherapy or other treatment. Ewan obtained evidence from John’s treating consultant and from an expert oncologist which supported a claim for the costs of potential future treatment.

Following service of this evidence on the defendant, the insurer of John’s former employer, a settlement was negotiated. The settlement included a six figure lump sum, as well as an agreement by way of a Court Order for the defendant to cover the costs of future treatment. The defendant has agreed that, if John does need to meet the costs of private treatment, he can return to recover these costs.

John had been exposed to asbestos during his employment at Universal Container (U.K.) Limited at their site in Stratford, east London. John was employed as a fitter’s mate in the late 1960s and performed various maintenance tasks with the fitter to whom he was assigned. He believes that he was exposed to asbestos when he carried out repairs and maintenance on an old steam boiler on site that was lagged with asbestos.

Universal Container (U.K.) Limited is no longer trading. Ewan had to identify the company’s previous insurers, which he was able to do after conducting investigations.

Ewan acted quickly to issue court proceedings using the asbestos Fast Track system in the Royal Courts of Justice. The defendant initially denied liability, but just prior to a hearing in front of a judge, they admitted liability and made an interim payment to John. 

John said: 

“When I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, after getting over the initial shock, my thoughts turned to how my family would fare financially and, chemotherapy apart, were there any other treatments available that would prolong my life.

“Following information given to me by the Cancer Support Team, I contacted Ewan at Leigh Day who arranged to come to my home. Ewan kept me updated on a regular basis throughout and in October this year informed me that the claim was successful and that an agreement was reached whereby I would receive a substantial cash settlement and the cost of future medical treatment, involved immunotherapy, would be covered.

“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Ewan and the staff at Leigh Day, whose hard work in gathering evidence from various medical and industrial experts made my claim successful.”

Ewan Tant, specialist asbestos claims lawyer at Leigh Day, said:
 
“I am delighted that John has the comfort of knowing that any future treatment has been dealt with as part of this settlement. John was very concerned that he received his compensation as soon as possible, to secure his family’s future financial wellbeing. He was also concerned that, should he need to pay for treatment in the future, the funds would be available. This settlement gives John the assurance that the cost of potential future treatment will be secured.

“At Leigh Day, we ensure that we maintain specialist knowledge about medical issues, using advice from leading experts and oncologists, to ensure our clients are advised on new available treatments wherever possible. By maintaining this knowledge, we can ensure that we use legal claims to help our clients gain access to new and innovative medical treatments, which otherwise would not be available to them.”

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