Hassocks man died from asbestos exposure, inquest hears

A Hassocks man died from mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, an inquest heard.

Jack Payne, 88, who had lived at Park Side, Hassocks, died at the Princess Royal Hospital on September 28, last year, the inquest at Crawley Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday (February 12).

A jury inquest into the death of Duncan Tomlin is being held at Crawley Coroner's Court

A jury inquest into the death of Duncan Tomlin is being held at Crawley Coroner's Court

He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of mesothelioma, a type of cancer that develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some of the body’s organs, which is usually linked to asbestos exposure.

Assistant coroner Joanne Andrews recorded a conclusion of mesothelioma and asbestos exposure.

The inquest heard how the 88-year-old, who was born in Brighton, worked as a telephone engineer for GPO and BT for several years, and was promoted to executive engineer.

He had revealed to his wife, Beryl, that he was exposed to asbestos while working in telephone exchanges. He also told her that he and his colleagues used to roll up a ball and play football.

Seven years ago he said he was getting breathless climbing the stairs, the inquest heard. He had a stent fitted at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

But he started getting breathless again, the inquest heard, and had a suspected collapsed lung and went into hospital.

He was released home and was put on a course of antibiotics, the inquest heard, but he was not eating properly, and lost over a stone.

His wife Beryl said he went into summer last year in a ‘steady condition’, but his health started to deteriorate.

He went back into hospital and ‘had no idea what was wrong’, the inquest heard. But after a biopsy was carried out, a mass in his chest was found and he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Jack was told by doctors he had three months to live, which was a ‘real bombshell’ to his wife Beryl, the inquest heard, but then he was told that doctors had made a mistake and he actually was unlikely to see the weekend. He died at the Princess Royal on Friday, September 28.

Assistant coroner Joanne Andrews said: “I would like to take this opportunity to pass on our sincere condolences to his family and in particular his wife Beryl, who must be going through a very difficult time.”

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