Mesothelioma's Youngest Victim?

Malignant mesothelioma is a latent disease that can take anywhere from 30 to 40 years to become fully developed and symptomatic. The average age associated with a diagnosis of mesothelioma is between 50 and 70 years of age. The average post diagnosis survival time of mesothelioma sufferers is between one and two years. Therefore, mesothelioma is commonly a cause of death for people ranging from 60 to 80 years of age. Barry Welch was 32...

A father of three, Barry Welch of Leicester, England, is assumed to be the youngest malignant mesothelioma casualty on record. Mr. Welch fought long and hard against the incurable cancer for a period of 11 months, during which his wife and children were forced to watch him deteriorate from a healthy husband and father to a worn down victim of malignant mesothelioma. Mr. Welch's fight ended on the 27th of April, 2004, when he finally succumbed to the rare disease.

Even more bizarre than Mr. Welch's young age was the fact that he had never been faced with direct exposure to asbestos. Questions were raised over how he could have contracted malignant mesothelioma, a disease who's only known cause is exposure to the carcinogenic micro fibers released by asbestos minerals. It was surmised that Mr. Welch must have been indirectly exposed via fibers brought home by his stepfather, Roger Bugsby, on his work overalls. Throughout the 1970s and prior to widespread asbestos regulation, Mr. Bugsby worked as a scaffolder at a powder station in Kent, England. Faced with asbestos exposure on a daily basis, Mr. Bugsby would return home with layers of the hazardous dust particles lining his clothes, skin and hair.

An inquest revealed that Mr. Bugsby would often return home and relax before changing out of his work clothes. He and stepson Barry would spend time together with Barry often sitting on his stepfather's lap. It is a somewhat common occurrence for indirect contact with asbestos to lead to contraction of mesothelioma by family members, most often with women who were responsible for the washing of their husband's contaminated clothing.

When he died, mesothelioma cancer had ravaged Barry's system. A victim of pleural mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the mesothelial tissue lining of the lung cavity, Barry was further burdened when the aggressive cancer metastasized and spread to his liver. Radical surgical procedures were considered for Barry; however, the mesothelioma's effect on the lymph glands of his chest left the cancer virtually inoperable.

It is believed that Barry Welch contracted pleural malignant mesothelioma as a child through contact with his stepfather's clothes. The disease lay dormant for more than 20 years before reaching its uncontrollable stage. Although a somewhat common occurrence for someone to contract malignant mesothelioma indirectly from a family member, the story of Barry Welch is no less of a tragedy. Asbestos litigation continues to target the negligent parties liable for hundreds of thousands of asbestos-related deaths.

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