Inquest hears retired Lowestoft welder had been exposed to asbestos before his death

Beacon House in Ipswich where the inquest was held. Picture: JASON NOBLE

Beacon House in Ipswich where the inquest was held. Picture: JASON NOBLE - Credit: Archant

A retired welder who died of natural causes had been exposed to asbestos during his lifetime, an inquest has concluded.

Malcolm Johnson, 76, of Dell Road East in Lowestoft died at home on January 24 as a result of bronchopneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). His inquest at Beacon House in Ipswich heard he had first been diagnosed with COPD in 2002 after a history of heavy smoking. But assistant coroner Nigel Parsley said Mr Johnson had been exposed to asbestos as a result of pipe work and welding at power stations during the 1960s and 1970s, predominantly in the Midlands. A CV presented as evidence at the inquest confirmed he had worked at power stations. His GP records made no reference to any exposure to asbestos. A postmortem report said the mild asbestosis “may also have contributed to his death but was unlikely to have been a significant factor”, and added that he also had hypertensive heart disease – a disorder linked with high blood pressure. “He has worked at two power stations and it is known that at that time asbestos was previously used in the construction and maintenance of power stations,” Mr Parsley said. “The asbestosis is described as mild in the postmortem and is counted as not being significant. “However whether it is significant or not it is still a factor in his death, therefore I will conclude that he died as a result of natural causes contributed to by asbestosis which is a known industrial disease.” The inquest heard that the 76-year-old was found in his bedroom at the time of his death and his wife had been with him. Evidence heard during the inquest, held on Tuesday, revealed that he couldn’t walk very well and had to spend most of his time in bed. The inquest heard that Mr Johnson needed the toilet at around 10am on the day of his death, and afterwards laid back on the bed explaining tohis wife that he did not feel well. Documentary evidence was read out from paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service who attended to Jr Johnson, and administered CPR, but were unable to revive him.

To find out more about asbestosis visit the NHS website here.

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