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A Derby man exposed to asbestos dust through his job as a foundry worker had lungs so badly diseased “they were dead”, an inquest has heard.

82-year-old Trevor Dunn was exposed to both asbestos and silicon through cleaning out large furnaces as part of his job. However, it was confirmed that he was also suffering with two forms of heart disease, which contributed to his death.

The inquest, held at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court heard that, on 26th September, Mr Dunn was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital having suffered a heart attack. He passed away less than forty minutes later.

The inquest heard that Mr Dunn’s son had questioned why surgeons decided not to operate on his father, who was suffering with heart disease shortly before his death. However, Dr Andrew Hitchcock, who conducted the post-mortem, told the hearing: “From a very simplistic view I would suggest had he had surgery (on his heart), he would have either died on the (operating) table or shortly after.

“I think the decision not to intervene was the right one.”

Mr Dunn began working at the former Leys Malleable Castings at the age of 14, and remained with the company for 30 years. Later, he began to train aspiring painters and decorators, until his retirement aged 65.

Coroner Louise Pinder said: “During his time there he was a foundry repair man and used to clean the insides of the giant furnaces which were used in the production of molten metal.

“Later furnaces were lined with asbestos to which he was significantly exposed.” Dr Hitchcock said his post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Dunn suffered from asbestosis, silicosis and naturally occurring combined heart diseases, which he gave as the cause of death.

Dr Hitchcock said that Mr Dunn’s post-mortem revealed he’d suffered with asbestosis, silicosis and combined heart diseases, which had developed naturally. He gave these as the cause of Mr Dunn’s death.
“Both lungs were grossly abnormal in their entirety with blackening and scarring,” Dr Hitchcock said. “There were certain parts of the lung that were so abnormal they were dead.

“I am going to suggest to the court that all these separate diseases played their part in his death.”
Miss Pinder concluded that Mr Dunn passed away as a result of developing industrial disease and natural heart disease.

“I suggest he was a very stoic man who did extremely well to cope, both physically and mentally, with the diseases he had,” she added.