A retired farmer died of an incurable cancer linked to asbestos exposure, an inquest heard.
Harry Boys, from Accrington, was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital on June 7 this year and lung biopsy tests later confirmed he was suffering from mesothelioma.
An inquest at Blackburn Coroners Court heard how the 85-year-old’s disease was ‘considered to be incurable’ and he was given palliative care until his death on July 1.
Coroner Michael Singleton ruled that Mr Boys died of the occupational disease mesothelioma and said he has a ‘very strong association with exposure to asbestos’.
The inquest heard how Mr Boys, of Pinewood Drive, previously ran a pig and poultry farm in Burnley after leaving school.
His son Howard Boys told the hearing that his father then worked at Associated Dairies in Accrington.
Mr Singleton told the inquest that it was ‘known locally’ at the time that ‘there were known to be buildings that had asbestos in them’. The inquest also heard how it was ‘not uncommon’ for farm outbuildings in the 1960s to be ‘roofed in asbestos sheeting’.
Concluding the inquest, Mr Singleton said: “Doctors tell me than in 95 per cent of cases of mesothelioma there is a direct link with exposure to asbestos.
“There’s a school of thought that says that five per cent are entirely natural. There’s also a school of thought among doctors that say those five per cent simply cannot establish the link, but it would be there if there was only evidence to support that.
“There is a divergence of medical opinion but within the coroners court I work on the balance of probabilities. Having heard the evidence I take the view that it is more likely than not that it was during his working life that Harry Boys was exposed to asbestos, as a consequence of which he developed the mesothelioma from which he died.”
Mr Singleton added: “Mesothelioma is a very aggressive, distressing and debilitating tumour. It’s distressing for not only the person that has it but also for their loved ones.
“The fact that the period of time between diagnosis and your father dying, no doubt at the time seemed tragically short, I have to tell you from my experience that actually it was a great blessing.
“That your father would not have wished, and nor would you, to have seen him go through days and months of this most distressing condition.”