Asbestos mesothelioma: The last gasp

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Asbestos mesothelioma: The last gasp

Maryanne Gatt and Lily Gatt

Maryanne Gatt’s (left) father John, died only four weeks after being diagnosed with an asbestos related disease and had no time to claim for compensation. Picture: Rohan Kelly Source: The Sunday Telegraph

Asbestos disease is a quick killer, snatching its victims in agony within just weeks of diagnosis. But a cruel NSW legal logjam means unless victims lodge a compensation claim in their dying days, their bereaved families are left with nothing. Jennifer Sexton reports.

When doctors told Maryanne Gatt her father had mesothelioma, she mouthed to her sister, a nurse, across his hospital bed: “What’s that?”

The diagnosis on Christmas Eve in 2010, that John Gatt had contracted the rampant cancer, came just months after a six-week holiday with his wife, Lily, through his birth country of Malta, and then Greece and Italy.

There were few signs on the trip that the cancer was spreading in a thin tissue across the internal organs of this fit 72-year-old. His appetite had waned and he felt a little tired, but had done a lot of walking.

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