Derbyshire receptionist killed by exposure to asbestos in the office

A Derbyshire woman developed fatal cancer after working as a receptionist for a drugs company.

Ingrid Young contracted an aggressive type of lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos in her job in the 60s.

The 73-year-old passed away five years after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibres, on October 21, last year. 

An inquest into her death at Chesterfield Coroners Court heard that Ms Young, of Tavistock Square, Alfreton, received the diagnosis after becoming short of breath. 

It was told that the retiree initially did not know where she could have inhaled asbestos, but later said she had been exposed to it while working for Rexall Drug Company in Nottingham.

In a statement before her death, Ms Young said she could have inhaled the dangerous substance while working as a receptionist for the company between 1967 and 1970.

She said maintenance work was carried out on asbestos in an old building while she continued to work there. 

This would go on to have tragic consequences when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015, something that ultimately led to her death.

Tanyka Rawden, assistant coroner for Derby and Derbyshire, said Ms Young had been on the waiting list for an experimental immunotherapy treatment for the disease, but she became too ill to undertake it. 

“She was admitted in September 2020 after her symptoms got worse,” Mrs Rawden said. 

“She gradually got worse with her breathing and sadly she passed away on October 21.”

Ms Young died on the Nightingale Macmillan Unit at Royal Derby Hospital surrounded by family and friends.

Mrs Rawden said she felt on the balance of probabilities that Ms Young had died as a result of exposure to asbestos more than 50 years ago. 

“It’s quite unusual to find someone who hasn’t been working directly with asbestos to have it [mesothelioma], but it is possible,” she said.

“She was working in an old building, it would seem that teams came in to work on the asbestos while she was still there.”

She said it was more likely than not that this led to Ms Young being exposed to asbestos and contracting the disease later in life. 

Ms Young’s medical cause of death was given as mesothelioma, with a coroners conclusion of Industrial Disease.

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