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Asbestos case against MoD
A Bradford on Avon widow whose husband died from asbestos-related cancer has launched a legal battle for compensation of up to £250,000.
Gerald Hodge, 84, of Fitzmaurice Place, Bradford on Avon, died from lung cancer after being exposed to deadly asbestos dust and fibres between 1947 and 1986, according to a writ issued at London’s High Court and just made publicly available.
Twelve years ago he had sued the Ministry of Defence in Bristol County Court after working as a shipwright and draughtsman at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, and on various ships.
He won damages of £17,500, based on the assumption that his condition would not deteriorate and that he would not develop certain specified conditions, including lung cancer.
But the High Court writ says that he then started to feel unwell, coughing up blood, losing weight, and suffering breathlessness, and by May 2010 doctors feared he had lung cancer.
Within weeks, his condition had deteriorated, he could only walk inside his home, needed constant oxygen, and needed help with washing and dressing.
On June 23, 2010 his wife found him struggling for breath, and he died before medical help arrived.
Now his widow Christine Hodge, 77, is suing the Ministry of Defence for damages of up to £250,000, saying his pain, illness and death were caused by its negligence.
Until February 2009 he was an active man, who looked and behaved as if he were 10 years younger, and was happy, full of energy, and active at home and in the garden.
The couple enjoyed a happy marriage, the court will hear.
Mr Hodge had been regularly exposed to asbestos during the refit of HMS Terrible between 1947 and 1949, and then worked for the Admiralty at Bath, where he worked on many ships afloat, the Bristol court heard.
During his last illness he was plagued by a terrible cough, sometimes bloody, and was very anxious and distressed that his declining heath was due to asbestos exposure, the writ says.
It claims he developed bed sores, endured suffering and lost 3.6 years of life because of the cancer.