The heirs of a man whose death was attributed solely to the cancer caused through his contact with asbestos because of his job were awarded over €200,000 in damages by the courts.
Paul Pullicino had passed away, aged 46, in 2010, following a battle with cancer. The man had been employed at the government garage in Kirkop between November, 1981 and January, 1983 as a full time trainee /apprentice. The court heard how during this period, his work consisted in inspecting vehicles, servicing machines and changing brake-pads and clutches.
Since the brake linings contained asbestos, Mr Pullicino inhaled asbestos powder which, the court observed, has been scientifically been proved to be a direct cause of cancer.
The court noted that the victim had never been given adequate protective gear to avoid inhaling the toxic and carcinogenic fumes.
Throughout his employment, Mr Pullicino worked on a shift basis alternating between three days of labour in the garage and two days of academic training.
The court observed that after quitting the job, the victim had taken up other jobs which never again placed him in contact with the deadly asbestos.
Mr Pullicino was admitted to hospital in 2008 complaining of respiratory problems. A biopsy had revealed he was suffering from mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused exclusively by asbestos inhalation.
After being admitted to Boffa hospital and undergoing chemotherapy, the patient succumbed to his illness in 2010.
In calculating compensation, the First Hall Civil Court presided by Mr Justice Silvio Meli, considered that the patient had spent over €8,000 in medical treatment, even though he had received assistance from the Malta Community Chest Fund.
The court awarded his heirs, represented by Dr Joseph Zammit Maempel, the sum of €200,000 by way of damages.