Local Nurse’s Death Sparks Investigation into Asbestos Exposure at West Hill Hospital

Local Nurse's Death Sparks Investigation into Asbestos Exposure at West Hill Hospital

Local Nurse Dies from Asbestos-Related Cancer After Working at West Hill Hospital in Dartford

The community is mourning the loss of Jane Preston, a former nurse who passed away from mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Mrs. Preston, who was 64 years old, worked at the West Hill Hospital in Dartford during the 1970s and 1980s as a records clerk before moving to Warwickshire.

Her husband, Andrew Preston, is now seeking help from her colleagues in tracing her work history to investigate how she was exposed to the dangerous substance that ultimately led to her untimely death. The family has teamed up with the charity Asbestos Action to continue a civil claim in Mrs. Preston’s name.

Mrs. Preston passed away just three months after her diagnosis in February 2023. Her husband believes her repeated exposure to asbestos while working at West Hill Hospital and Walsgrave Hospital in the late 70s and late 90s, respectively, is what led to her cancer.

During her time as a records clerk at West Hill Hospital, Mrs. Preston often had to go to the basement where hospital archives were kept. The family claims that she would regularly come into contact with asbestos while retrieving files stored close to a boiler with decayed lagging on its pipes. Mrs. Preston would then have to sweep up the dust that had accumulated on the files.

In addition, Mrs. Preston also worked as a staff nurse in the x-ray department at Walsgrave Hospital from 1999 to 2001. Her husband alleges that she was also exposed to asbestos in ceiling tiles during her time there.

Both hospitals have since been demolished, with West Hill Hospital being turned into a 75-bed care home in 2000 and Walsgrave Hospital closing in 2007. Mr. Preston is now appealing to his late wife’s former colleagues to come forward with any information that could help in their legal claim.

Kevin Johnson, a solicitor from Leigh Day who is representing Mr. Preston, stated, “Any relevant information provided could help her husband’s legal claim concerning the loss of his wife in these tragic circumstances.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Kevin Johnson at 0151 305 2760 or KTJohnson@leighday.co.uk. Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust was also approached for comment.

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