People in and around North Carolina should be aware by now that asbestos is a toxic and potentially lethal substance. Once it is inhaled or ingested, it can do catastrophic damage to a person’s lungs that may not even show up for decades. By then, the fiber has already done considerable damage and victim may only have a matter of months to live. The diseases caused by asbestos can be devastating for victims and their families to cope with.
There are some areas in which people lived or worked that increased their risk of developing an illness caused by asbestos. One area that has made national headlines is Libby, Montana, where thousands of people have gotten sick after living or working near vermiculite mines in the city. The mines were contaminated by asbestos and for years, dust spread easily across the area, exposing residents and workers to the hazardous fibers.
A doctor in Libby is focused on helping patients who suffer from asbestos-related diseases get the care and treatment they need. He wants to help people get diagnosed early in order to improve the efficacy of certain treatments and make people aware of just how deadly exposure to materials like asbestos can be. Sadly, he too recently learned that he is exhibiting symptoms of an asbestos-related disease.
The doctor’s efforts to improve care and awareness are centered on the fact that not all doctors are as acutely aware of asbestos-related symptoms. In Libby, thousands of people have been sickened or killed because of asbestos, making it a primary concern in the area. But there are people in other parts of the country who are misdiagnosed or not given access to effective treatments in time because they do not know they were exposed to asbestos.
A person who suffers from an asbestos-related disease benefits from an early diagnosis and course of treatment. There are resources in place to help victims who have been exposed to asbestos get in touch with doctors across the country who are familiar with the unique challenges of diagnosing and treating an asbestos-related illness. Speaking with an attorney is one way to access these resources and possibly pursue compensation from the party responsible for the asbestos exposure in the first place.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “A Doctor on the Front Lines of Asbestos Fight,” Dionne Searcey, Nov. 26, 2013