Mesothelioma Victim Washed Late Husband’s Work Clothes
February 13, 2017
It’s rare, but it happens. And when it does, it’s devastating for the victim, and the victim’s family. What’s even more tragic is that Vivienne Swain, a native of the UK who resides in Rochdale, has suffered loss twice: once when her husband died from a brain disease in his early forties, and now through a diagnosis of Mesothelioma
. Swain now faces the loss of her own life: there is no cure for asbestos mesothelioma. When she was diagnosed in August of 2015, she was given three years to live.
The irony about Swain’s condition, and diagnosis, is that the mother of three has never set foot in any industrial setting that contained asbestos. She was, however the primary household support for her husband and three children, including doing everyone’s laundry.
When her late husband would come home from his job as a joiner, Vivienne was responsible for washing his work clothes. “I would shake the overalls before washing them and they would be heavy with dust – so much so that it would cover the kitchen floor, and I’d have to sweep it up,” Swain said, in comments to The Daily Mail and MailOnline (02/06/17).
“I believe these were asbestos fibers.”
Mesothelioma is a disease affecting the lining of the lungs. The only known cause is exposure to asbestos. While rare, there have been previous cases whereby the house-bound partner of an industrial worker has succumbed to asbestos cancer by way of exposure to asbestos fibers and asbestos dust brought into the home piggybacking on her husband’s work clothes.
A diagnosis of asbestos mesothelioma can be tied to asbestos exposure going back decades. Asbestosis and asbestos cancer can lay dormant for years before suddenly emerging in an otherwise healthy individual.
This appears to have happened to Swain, who is now 60. Her husband, the late Michael Power, died almost two decades ago. Since that time Swain has remained healthy and fit. However in early 2015, Swain began to notice an unusual shortness of breath. Symptoms eased off temporarily when she was given an inhaler.
However breathing problems resurfaced when she was out of the country on a family holiday and stairs which never gave her a problem before, now did. Upon returning home, she was put through a battery of tests that finally confirmed Mesothelioma.
Doctors have told Swain that her asbestos cancer was likely caused by exposure to asbestos. The dust on her late husband’s work clothes remains the only source of asbestos exposure, to her knowledge.
Swain has since gone through various rounds of chemotherapy, determined to fight the asbestos cancer. She has also been fitted with a pleural drain, which helps mitigate fluid buildup in her lungs. With help from her current life partner, the drain is undertaken every three to seven days.
Swain has launched an asbestos lawsuit, and is seeking others who may have worked in the same industry as her late husband. Swain seeks asbestos compensation for herself, as well as other members of the proposed class.
MailOnline notes that upwards of 2,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with asbestos mesothelioma, asbestos cancer or asbestosis each year. Asbestos has been identified as a known carcinogen since the early 1900s.