Boiler lagging blamed for hospital porter illness

12th April 2016

Deadly asbestos fibres within a rest room at a hospital in Caterham has been blamed for the mesothelioma of ex-porter Meryvn Waiton.

Mr Waiton, 65, was only recently diagnosed with the terminal cancer following a check-up with his GP. Between 1970 and 1981 he worked as a porter in St Lawrence’s, a hospital for the mentally ill. While there he spent a significant amount of time in the porters’ rest room, where employees waited to receive calls from other members of staff needing help. Within the rest room was a boiler which Mr Waiton said was lagged with asbestos.

“Because of its age the hospital plumbers were always tinkering with the boiler and the pipes,” he noted. “There were three and a half miles of corridors in the hospital, with pipes running the whole length, most of which were lagged with asbestos. They were in various states of disrepair. We must have been surrounded by bits of dust.”

More than 800 women and 700 men were patients at St Lawrence’s, along with a large number of full time employees, including electricians, plumbers, builders and even a butcher, reports The hospital closed in 1994, but Mr Waiton’s lawyers are keen to hear from anyone else who worked at the hospital and may also be suffering with the disease.