Wembley mother exposed to asbestos at school wins payout from Brent Council
PUBLISHED: 16:33 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:33 04 September 2014
A Wembley mother who was told she had less than a year to live after she was exposed to asbestos at school has received a large payout from Brent Council.
Sarah Bowman was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in August 2009, caused by inhaling the potentially lethal substance as a pupil William Gladstone High School in Dollis Hill, during the 1980s.
The school closed in the late 1980s and was demolished in 1998 for housing.
The 46-year-old underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tumour which had developed due to the rare disease that affects the lining of the abdomen rather than the lining of the lungs.
She was told her illness was terminal and was given less than 12 months to live.
However, following the procedure, doctors told the mother-of-two that there were no signs of cancerous cells in her body, which is highly unusual with mesothelioma cases.
The ordeal has been a physical and emotional strain for Ms Bowman, who developed depression and continues to suffer from exhaustion.
However, she hopes to lead a normal life and aims to return to work.
She said: “My life has been turned upside down since my diagnosis – although at the moment I am in remission, I am petrified that one day the cancer will return and I will have to relive this whole ordeal once more.
“To be told that I had a terminal illness and had less than a year to live was simply too much to comprehend and my family and I have struggled to overcome this.
“I am relieved that the London Borough of Brent has finally admitted liability for my exposure to asbestos at school and I am grateful for the help of my legal team at Irwin Mitchell to help me secure justice for my horrific ordeal.”
The compensation amount has been kept confidential.
In 2012, an all-party parliamentary group warned that 75 per cent of schools nationwide expose children and staff to asbestos.
The Times originally highlighted her plight back in April 2010 and since then Ms Bowman has been working with her lawyers in renewing previous calls for the government to introduce a schedule of work to identify and remove asbestos from school buildings.
Michael Lees, a founder member of the Asbestos in Schools Group, said that “As parents we send our children to schools in the belief that they will be safe. It is therefore appalling that they are being exposed to asbestos and their lives put at risk. “The dreadful suffering that Sarah is very bravely enduring was totally avoidable.”
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