Jersey to introduce mesothelioma compensation scheme

Media caption,
Brian Coutanche suffered a stroke after being diagnosed with Mesothelioma

People who contract a deadly lung disease by breathing in asbestos will get compensation in future.

Politicians unanimously approved a plan to pay people who contract mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos.

There is already a compensation scheme in the UK but this has never been available in Jersey.

The issue was first raised by campaigner Brian Coutanche who died from the disease in July.

His speaking out prompted the first petition on the recently launched States of Jersey petition site.

What causes mesothelioma?

Image source, Science Photo Library
Image caption,
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and can take decades to develop

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres were once widely used in construction.

These tiny fibres can easily get in the lungs, where they get stuck, damaging the lungs over time.

It usually takes a while for this to cause any obvious problems, with mesothelioma typically developing more than 20 years after exposure to asbestos.

Source: NHS

Mr Coutanche came into contact with asbestos during his career in construction work for the States of Jersey.

He contracted mesothelioma and during his last weeks of life campaigned for the introduction of a compensation scheme.

June Summers Shaw, who launched the petition, lost her husband to the disease.

She said she could not stop crying after she heard the States would introduce a compensation scheme as it would also have been her husband's birthday.

Mrs Shaw said: "Mesothelioma has no viable treatment and no cure. Life expectancy is 12- 18 months."

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