The Navy and Mesothelioma - A Complicated History
This month we will cover two sides of mesothelioma: the legal elements and the medical elements. Each side of this disease can be heavily daunting. One side of the coin gives you a diagnosis that in a large majority of the cases is fatal within 2 years. There are many obstacles to cover to prolong life and protect and preserve the quality of life that remains. The other side of the coin represents the law and the illegal exposure to asbestos that was the cause of your deadly illness. Most will want to legally pursue options to hold the parties of this exposure responsible and go after monetary compensation.
Your first inclination about asbestos-related illness will come from a medical diagnosis. Most people are devastated and do not know exactly where to begin. Finding a medical professional or specialist near you will be your first priority. Your next priority will be understanding the legal implications of the negligence of others afflicting you with a deadly disease and you will want to take legal recourse.
Both sides of this coin represent a battle – each with specific steps and understandings you must comprehend and master in order to win the war. This months’ blogs will help to empower you with information to cover both fronts.
Soldiers serving in the U.S. Navy are most notably amongst the most affected branch of military affected by the Navy and mesothelioma. The rate of asbestos-related illnesses among this group is quite high. Statistically, about a third of all mesothelioma cancer patients and asbestos-related illnesses are diagnosed in veterans. This is because many served during the peak use of asbestos which encompasses a timeline from 1940-1975.
Because of the circumstances surrounding WWII, ships had to be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at low cost. The asbestos fiber accomplished all three of these requirements. All Navy vessels produced a tremendous amount of heat and the equipment used to produce this heat was susceptible to causing fires. Asbestos is highly resistant to fire. It was considered the perfect solution to any product that may produce fire or catch fire.
Asbestos was placed in almost all parts of the ship. It was wrapped around pipes, lined brakes and gaskets, engine rooms, placed in the walls and floors as insulation and in the ceilings of rooms where sailors regularly gathered like the galleys and sleeping quarters. It was literally everywhere and unavoidable for Navy soldiers to inhale or swallow its microscopic particles. Sadly, 30-50 years later, most are now suffering the ill effects of the Navy and mesothelioma.
We know that it was not only personnel in the Navy who mesothelioma affected but also any employees with a number of jobs that manufactured or used products with the carcinogenic fiber. Asbestos exposure affects up to 3000 people each year and it was typically contracted during work hours. This means there are legal implications that should be considered.