Exposure to asbestos revealed at inquest of former Skegness guesthouse owner

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A former Skegness guesthouse owner who died, aged 73, in the town’s hospital had been subjected to contact with asbestos dust as a young woman.

This emerged at the inquest on Carrol Morris, of Sutton Court, off Roman Bank, who succumbed to a chest infection on May 6 after a long and brave battle with mesothelioma which is strongly correlated with asbestos contact, though there can be other causes.

In her dying days, Mrs Morris, a widow, completed an end-of-life statement in which she recounted how, after starting her working life at a fruiterers, she had worked, between 1962 and 1976, as a shop assistant for BHS.

Her first appointment had been in her home town, Rotherham, when the store was being converted from what had been the old White Horse cinema, but, subsequently, she was seconded to sister stores all over the country during which time asbestos was often being cut or sawed as workers fitted ceiling tiles or fire 
doors in ready for branch opening.

At times she would brush the dust from her clothing - without having had the benefit of any training or warnings on the risk.

The inquest, held at Spilsby on Wednesday, heard how, following a mastectomy in later life, Mrs Morris’ had recovered from breast cancer, but her health had entered a spiral of decline since October 2013 when she visited her GP to report a chesty cough and shortness of breath.

After diagnosis of her lung condition, she twice underwent courses of chemotherapy, but each time these had to be terminated because of medical complications such as anaemia or kidney dysfunction.

Following conversations with family members, she compiled the end-of-life statement while undergoing palliative care.

Neither her son, Paul Morris, 48, a computer programmer, of Croft in Leicestershire, nor any member of the family was present at the hearing, but their interests were represented by Dr Graydon, a lawyer from West Bridgford near Nottingham.

The Assistant Coroner for Central Lincolnshire, Paul Smith, concluded that, ‘on the balance of probabilities’, Mrs Morris had died from the lung disease, mesothelioma.