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What to Do After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Oct 11, 2007
If you or a loved one has been recently handed a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be feeling confused, frightened and betrayed. Many people diagnosed with the disease and their families have never heard of the disease before they're told that they may have it. Others have been dealing with the knowledge that they have been exposed to asbestos for years, and the diagnosis is the other shoe dropping. Once the mesothelioma diagnosis is made, they may even feel a surprising relief that the years of dread are over. There will be many people who tell you what you should or will be feeling. Just keep in mind that whatever you feel is valid - there is no wrong way to feel when you get such devastating news.

Mesothelioma is a devastating diagnosis. This rare form of cancer is almost invariably connected to previous asbestos exposure, often several decades in the past. It is also almost invariably terminal, painful and costly to treat. Treatment for the disease can cost thousands of dollars a month, and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Even the diagnostic testing to determine it can be expensive. If you've received a mesothelioma diagnosis, though, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical expenses and for your pain and suffering.

Mesothelioma is nearly always the end result of exposure to asbestos, often in the workplace. Asbestos, one of the most widely used building and insulating materials in history, gives off a very fine dust when it is crushed or broken. That dust is inhaled by workers and others in the area, and lodges in the lungs, throat, stomach or abdominal lining. There it remains for decades, causing tissue changes and lesions that may go undetected until they have developed into the devastating cancer.

The biggest tragedy of mesothelioma is that it was entirely preventable. The management and owners of the companies that made and distributed asbestos were well aware of the dangers of working with asbestos. They also knew decades ago that there are easy ways to reduce exposure to asbestos fibers when working with asbestos - ways as simple as providing disposable paper masks to workers who are in contact with it. They chose to keep what they knew about the dangers of asbestos to themselves. They made a conscious choice to deny their employees the information and the equipment that would have prevented this deadly disease.

When the truth did come out about asbestos and its relationship to a mesothelioma diagnosis, the public was outraged. Lawsuits were filed and continue to be filed by and on behalf of those who have developed the disease after being exposed to asbestos. The courts have almost invariably held the companies responsible for the illnesses caused by asbestos and awarded enormous amounts to those who are dealing with mesothelioma or have lost a loved one to it. Those awards go a long way toward covering the costs of medical care and toward reassurance that families are taken care of when the victim can no longer work and support the family him or herself.

If you or a loved one has been given a diagnosis, you'll be facing many decisions and challenges in the coming months. Many of those decisions and challenges will be financial. While no lawsuit or amount of money can make up for the losses and pain, an award or settlement from the companies responsible for your condition can help pay for your treatment and set your mind at ease about your family's financial circumstances. You owe it to yourself and to your family to explore your legal options as well as your medical options if you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

A mesothelioma lawyer can be helpful to you in other ways than just advising you on recovering damages after a diagnosis. For many top mesothelioma lawyers and their staffs, helping people with a diagnosis has become a crusade. In addition to legal matters, your lawyer's office may be an excellent source of information about social, medical and psychological resources available to those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Because the law offices who are most involved with mesothelioma and asbestos litigation have so many connections within the field, your lawyer's office may be able to help you with lists of support groups, diagnostic services, information and educational resources.

A diagnosis is not the end of the world, and having the right information and resources at hand can make a great deal of difference in how you and your family manage in the weeks, months and years after you get the news. If you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma, consult a law firm that understands asbestos litigation and mesothelioma cases. You owe it to yourself and your family.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma and Nursing Home Abuse. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com
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