A former nurse who ‘never missed a day of work’ has been diagnosed with an aggressive terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Kalliopi Copley, 66, received her devastating diagnosis last year and has now begun legal proceedings against three South Yorkshire hospitals she was working in when she believes the exposure took place.
“I was distraught when I was told I had mesothelioma, my prognosis isn’t good,” said Kalliopi, who worked as a trainee nurse at both Moorgate and Doncaster Gate Hospitals in Rotherham, between 1966 to 1969. She recalls major refurbishment work being carried out to revamp old out-buildings, located opposite the nurses’ accommodation where she lived, and believes she was exposed to the asbestos used by the workmen. She also recalls coming into contact with asbestos at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital, where she worked as a matron for 16 years.
“I remember contractors removing ceiling tiles, working on pipe work in ceiling voids and opening up ducts, creating a lot of dust,” she said.
“We worked around this every day without any warnings or protective equipment.”
The mum-of-two, who is originally from Rhodes in Greece, moved to Rotherham in the sixties, where she still lives today with Walter, her husband of 42 years.
She added: “I’m already quite breathless and need to take things slowly. It’s devastating to think that I’m suffering from this dreadful illness simply because I went to work every day.”
Martyn Hayward, from Irwin Mitchell, who are representing her, said: “We want Kalliopi’s colleagues, or any local tradesmen who worked in these hospitals at the time, to come forward. They may hold crucial information that could help her get the justice she deserves before it is too late.”