Simpson Millar's Industrial Disease team attends National Lung Cancer Conference For Nurses 2017


The Law Of… Investing In The Future

This weekend saw the gathering of cancer nurses for this year's National Lung Cancer Forum For Nurses (NLCFN) annual conference in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

As asbestos illness claims specialists, the Simpson Millar Industrial Disease team were also in attendance, finding out how better to understand clients who suffer from lung disease and mesothelioma.

Helen Grady, an Industrial Disease Partner, reports on what she learned from the conference.

Issues Faced By Lung Cancer Sufferers

The title of the conference this year was, "Investing in the Future: Aspiring for Excellence" The information shared focussed a lot on how a holistic approach to the assessment and treatment of lung cancer sufferers, while complex, can be beneficial.

Leading clinical specialists described the complexities involved in the diagnosing of mesothelioma and in the decision making processes undertaken in the management of asbestos related diseases.

Combating Breathlessness

It was discussed that once someone has been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma, their medical requirements need to be met with immediacy as well as holistic needs, assessments and approaches. In our mesothelioma cases this includes same day installation of stair lifts to enable mobility when feeling breathless, help arranging local and reputable workmen to undertake any bathroom modifications and any other logistical needs someone might have.

Many of our own clients have had easy access walk-in showers with seats installed and a downstairs toilet fitted. A recent client suffering from mesothelioma had an electric door fitted to his garage as he was suffering with pain in his shoulder and this really helped when opening and closing the garage door.

Medical specialists at the conference discussed the importance of occupational therapy and assessing the needs of the individual. Such logistical changes can make a huge difference to people living and coping with life after their diagnosis.

Asbestos Exposure At Appledore Dockland

One of the most saddening facts discussed was the struggle to diagnose this asbestos related condition. Sometimes individuals are too poorly for a biopsy, or the biopsy is inconclusive. In cases such as these, a specialist asbestos related disease lawyer can be important. Care and attention must be paid to ensure individuals are not missing out on their automatic Government Lump Sum payment, which can be so important during the initial stages, post-diagnosis.

Simpson Millar's asbestos team dealt with a recent case of a client diagnosed with lung cancer at North Devon Hospital, who was much too poorly for a biopsy and had a large build-up of fluid in his lungs. Mesothelioma was suspected. It was clear from his employment history that there were high levels of past asbestos exposure, which occurred while working at the Appledore Dockyard.

His wife attended one of our legal clinics at the Castle Centre in Barnstaple for help and information. Their Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) application for state benefits had been refused as, without a biopsy, his consultant was unable to say that he definitely had mesothelioma.

Balance Of Probability

We were able to quickly help and appeal the DWP decision as the medical notes confirmed lung cancer. We obtained urgent medical evidence to confirm that "on balance of probability" it was mesothelioma. The records were showing tumours both inside his lungs (lung cancer), plus on the lining of his lung (mesothelioma). His DWP payment was paid and backdated as a result.

The money was used to improve the client's quality of life by ensuring transport to medical appointments, paying for extra heating and installing a stair lift to help with his breathlessness.

Aspiring For Excellence

One of the most inspiring parts of the conference was meeting with the lung cancer nurses in attendance. Their determination to provide each and every sufferer with the best possible quality of life resonated with the asbestos team.

Helen comments:

"We have many clients diagnosed with mesothelioma and, as a result, we see different approaches to treatment all the time. Some opt for different trials for new treatment, some for private treatment, some undergo chemotherapy and some opt for no treatment."

"We have a rounded and deep understanding that everyone is different."

"The conference is always an inspiring experience. The day-to-day complex web of decisions and treatments by the medical profession are what makes a difference."

If you have been affected by exposure to asbestos at work, contact our asbestos claims solicitors for a free phone consultation.

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