Bristol man's asbestos cancer payout
A Bristol man who developed a debilitating form of lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos has been awarded £70,000 in compensation.
Cornelius Doherty, who is known as Con, was diagnosed with mesothelioma a year ago.
The 76-year-old worked as a floor layer for 42 years and had regular contact with asbestos without realising the dangers.
When he was diagnosed with the cancer Mr Doherty, 76, was told he probably had 18 months to live and suffers pain every day.
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He had always been fit, still visited some of Bristol's nightspots and was able to complete exercises done by members of the Canadian Air Force until he became unwell.
Mr Doherty first knew something was wrong when he was walking from the city centre home to Highridge and became breathless coming up the hill near the junction between Bridgwater Road and Bishopsworth Road.
The widower went to the Bristol Royal Infirmary's A&E the next day, where it was discovered that he had fluid on his lung. After further tests he was diagnosed with the cancer that affects the cells in the lung tissue.
Mr Doherty said: "I was coming out of Chicago Rock on the Saturday night and was walking home at about 3am. It wasn't until I got to the hill before the Cross Hands and I could not get my breath that I knew anything about it.
"When I went to the BRI the following day they took away three-and-a-half litres of fluid and that is when they diagnosed mesothelioma."
Mr Doherty said: "This disease has completely changed my life. It has got gradually worse and my chest has gradually tightened up. I am on stronger tablets now.
"My breathing has gone and now if I walk and talk, it takes it out of me. I can only walk short distances now.
"I was offered radiotherapy but it would have taken 12 weeks and they said it would probably only add 14 weeks to my life. I don't want any more treatment; there is a lot of pain."
Mr Doherty, who served with the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the 1950s, said he had friends who have died as a result of exposure to asbestos.
He said: "Asbestos was there but we did not know the damage it could do.
"Some of the apprentices used to make snowballs out of it.
"No-one knew it could harm us. We would not have done it if we had."
Mr Doherty worked for Bedminster-based C W Jones Flooring Ltd on and off from 1963 to 2005 along with other companies in the Bristol area that no longer exist. He also worked in building in New Zealand. His case was brought against C W Jones Flooring because only they remained
Mr Doherty was represented by Simon Allen, partner at Russell Jones and Walker, who said that about 2,000 people die from the cancer in the UK every year and it is expected to peak in 2020.
Mr Allen said: "Unfortunately, it is inevitable that Mr Doherty's symptoms will worsen and he will require an increasing level of care. We hope that the settlement received from his former employers will go some way to compensating him."
The case was settled out of court three weeks before it was due to be heard but the firm did not admit liability.
Adrian Jones, the managing director of C W Jones, said: "It is unfortunate that Mr Doherty has mesothelioma but we have never knowingly put anybody at risk.
"Mr Doherty worked for 11 other companies in the Bristol area over the years and in other countries but we are the last man left standing so it has been our insurance that has picked up the bill, as government legislation has made every company responsible for his entire career, whether or not they used asbestos."