020 7650 1200

Cancer patient appeals for evidence on Walsgrave hospital asbestos

A 43-year-old woman is appealing to staff who worked at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry from 1998 to 2004 to come forward if they know anything about the presence of asbestos in the building.

Posted on 10 December 2018

Dr Kate Richmond, who now lives in Australia, has been diagnosed with mesothelioma with a life expectancy of just two to three years – and her legal team suspect that her condition may relate to her time as a medic at Walsgrave Hospital.

Dr Richmond says she was exposed to asbestos in walk-through tunnels at the hospital when she was training and also after she’d qualified.

She said: “The hospital was demolished in around 2004. I remember walking through the tunnels on a daily basis and workmen working on lagged pipes overhead.”

The tunnels are no longer in existence since the hospital was demolished in 2004. Dr Richmond’s legal team from law firm Leigh Day have researched demolition firms which removed asbestos from the building – but they are now seeking people who worked at the building for further information.

Dr Richmond is a married mother of two small children aged six and nine. She is a practising GP in Melbourne, Australia.

She visited her doctor earlier this year after feeling unwell for a few weeks. She was short of breath and had a swollen stomach. A scan found she had peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

"It wasn't what I was expecting to be told at all," she said. “When they told me, I thought I was going to have six months to live. My husband was with me and it was very emotional for both of us.”

She was rushed in for surgery the very next day. Her uterus, ovaries and appendix all had to be removed and an oncologist told her she had a life expectancy of two to three years.

Said Dr Richmond, “It was awful, I cried and said, 'but I'm only in my 40s, I have young kids and I need to be around for them',"

Daniel Easton, asbestos claims lawyer and partner at Leigh Day, said: “This is a tragic case and we are working hard to find the source of her exposure to asbestos. We believe it could have been from Dr Richmond’s daily walk through the tunnel at Walsgrave Hospital which we are told had asbestos lagged pipes.

“We are appealing for staff from the hospital to come forward with any of their memories of this time between 1998 and 2004 when they may have been aware of the asbestos.

“We have researched demolition firms which tell us that they removed asbestos from the building. We need additional information about asbestos at the hospital and particularly want to speak to employees who walked through the basement, possibly even workmen who may have carried out maintenance or other families who may have been affected.”

If anyone has any information, please contact Daniel Easton at Leigh Day on 020 7650 1226 or email deaston@leighday.co.uk. All information received will be treated in the strictest confidence.