Horsham builder’s death due to asbestos work, inquest hears

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Working with asbestos for many years most likely contributed to a Horsham man’s death, an inquest found.

Derek Short, 87, a retired builder who lived in Earlswood Close with his wife for 65 years, died at East Surrey Hospital on November 10, 2017.

An inquest at Crawley Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, March 20, heard that a CT scan in December 2016 revealed calcified pleural plaques ‘indicative of asbestosis’.

Following the diagnosis ‘his health started to rapidly deteriorate’ and a loss of appetite saw Mr Short lose three stone in weight over a six-month period prior to his death, the inquest heard.

The court was told that Mr Short, originally from Faygate, also had a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis secondary to asbestosis, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and an irregular heart rate.

He was admitted to East Surrey Hospital following a fall at home on November 3, 2017, where he was treated for pneumonia but ‘continued to deteriorate’ and died seven days later.

Senior assistant coroner Jemma Gaule said: “He had been employed as a builder for most of his life and undoubtedly came into contact with asbestos during his working life.”

Assistant coroner Dr David Skipp said: “In view of the findings on the CT scan of plural pleural indicative of asbestosis, I suspect this patient was suffering from the result of that condition, as he had been a builder and worked in the trade many, many years.

“I’m going to record a verdict of industrial disease of mesothelioma.”