Hospice costs recovered by leading local law firm

Local law firm Wolferstans Solicitors have recovered the sum of £7,241.34 for the direct benefit of St Luke’s Hospice reflecting a proportion of the costs of care they gave to patient Mr X from Plymouth who unfortunately died having suffered from asbestos induced mesothelioma.  Mr X was employed by the Ministry of Defence at Devonport Dockyard between 1954 and 1988. His exposure to asbestos occurred while working afloat during the repair and refurbishment of ships at the dockyard.  He worked with various fitter gangs particularly in the engine and boiler rooms on a variety of ships where asbestos lagging was present as it was used to insulate and protect from heat on pipes carrying boiling water or steam.

Mr X was admitted to St Luke’s Hospice in Plymouth for a few days in August 2011 to provide respite for the family and then spent his last week of his life at St Luke’s in September 2011. He was provided with terminal care, support and comfort from the  staff at St Luke’s before passing away. St Luke’s also provided valuable bereavement support and guidance to Mr X’s family.

Wolferstans was instructed to recover damages from the Ministry of Defence for the benefit of the family to reflect the pain and suffering Mr X endured and the associated financial losses particularly relating to the care provided to Mr X.  As well as recovering significant damages for the family Wolferstans was also able to include a claim on behalf of St Luke’s for a percentage of the “reasonable and necessary” care costs that were not funded from donations made to it by the Primary Care Trusts.

Director of Clinical Services at St Luke's Hospice Plymouth, George Lillie said: "At St Luke's we always strive to provide free End of Life and Palliative Care to those who need us most in the local community. With over £4.5 million to raise every year to maintain this service, awards from legal claims like in this case go a long way to support the hospice and fund further patient care. Cases like this are few and far between and whilst we must stress our service is free, we also feel it is important to highlight to others that there are unique cases like this where patients and their support network can make a big difference to our charity by claiming what is lawfully owed to them. We would also like to thank Wolferstans for their input on this case"

The family of Mr X would like to extend their gratitude to St Luke’s Hospice and hope that further funds can be recovered in these asbestos cases to help ensure the facility continues.

“Compensation costs have been claimed for St Luke’s Hospice in recognition of the excellent care and end of life support given to my husband, myself and family. Grateful thanks to all concerned.”

James Walsh, Partner and Solicitor at Wolferstans who helped achieve this result for Mr X family has many years experience with industrial disease litigation being a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority Personal Injury Panel and a Fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. James is particularly well known as a national specialist in asbestos litigation.

James Walsh says “It is my mission to raise the awareness of the dangers of asbestos and the resulting fatal disease of Mesothelioma. This includes ensuring hospices around the country know that we can now recover some of their costs in providing such a fantastic service caring for the terminally ill which may enable them to continue in times when charitable donations in real terms at an all time low.”


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