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Asbestos Mesothelioma--A Navy Perk

. By
Greer, SCBob joined the navy in 1959, at the age of 19 and became a highly respected career naval officer who served for 24 years. He also lived on ships that had asbestos insulation; they were being refitted as a result. His wife is convinced that his tragic death from cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos, and that his cancer could have been asbestos mesothelioma.

Navy "The navy had many WWI ships still in commission when my husband joined the navy," Marge said. "The ships were recommissioned, fixed-up, and that's when the asbestos was removed. The officers lived, slept and worked on those ships not knowing that asbestos was so dangerous. Of course nobody told the sailors anything. The navy started removing asbestos in the 1970s. Bob was on many of the old ships until 1974; he retired in 1986."

And that's when Bob's health problems really began. "I asked my husband, just after he retired, what they did with the asbestos while it was being stripped out of the ships and he said that it was covered while the removal was underway," Marg said. "I asked him if he slept on the ships when that was going on and he said yes, they slept in whatever area was designated for them to sleep in while the removal was taking place, because he was on active duty. I'm sure the asbestos dust must have come through the pipes and ducts. He went through several of those ships.

Over time he developed problems breathing and started to have a lot of bronchitis. Then his doctor found a spot on his lung, which was determined to be benign. But his doctor kept an eye on him. In 2003, they ordered a set of chest x-rays, and they showed that my husband could have cancer. In fact, the CT scan proved he had non-small cell lung cancer.

Mu husband was sent to an oncologist, and he underwent heavy duty treatment, and went into remission for almost 2 years. Then in 2005 he started to feel badly again, the cancer had come back, almost to the same place, the same lung. The doctor gave him very strong chemotherapy, and more radiation.

The spot was shrinking and the doctor said the results were showing improvement. But one morning I noticed that Bob just didn't look the same. He woke up and said he couldn't get his breath. And he was already on oxygen. He'd been on oxygen since 2005 and stayed on it until he died. But that morning he said the oxygen wasn't working.

I called my son-in-law who is a doctor. He came over and increased the oxygen level. He stayed with my husband for quite some time, until he stabilized enough to travel to the hospital. The doctors at the hospital did a CT scan which showed that the cancer had spread to his liver. There was nothing more they could do for him. So he went into home hospice, and died 7 days later, on December 09, 2006.

I was told by the lawyer that non small cell lung cancer can be caused by asbestos because the fine particles can live at the bottom of the lung for a long time. And the cancer may develop or it may not. I am sure that my husband was exposed to asbestos fine particles through the air ducts and vents on the ships while it was being removed. He worked on at least 5 WWII ships that underwent asbestos removal. It had to have gotten around the ships because the dust is so fine."

Marg is still feeling the loss of her husband of 38 years. But she is determined to find out whether her husband's devoted service to his country cost him his life, not through any typical or expected means, but instead as a result of lethal exposure to asbestos.



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