Exposure Spotlight: Paper Mills

Written by: Erika O’Donnell

Massachusetts has a proud tradition of paper-making. In fact, there was a time that Holyoke was the world’s largest center for papermaking. Generations of families worked at local paper mills and many communities were erected to support the mills. Work in a paper mill could be grueling. Mills were generally hot, dusty, and demanding. Many paper mills also utilized asbestos in the paper they processed and in their facilities. A person working in a paper mill could have been exposed from asbestos from:

Asbestos used in the paper: We know that many specialty papers utilized asbestos as an ingredient of the paper. The asbestos would be added into the pulp and anyone in the vicinity while the asbestos was being poured into the pulper or who came into contact with the raw asbestos would certainly have been exposed to asbestos fibers. Likewise, anyone who either slit the asbestos-containing paper or was in the vicinity when the paper was being slit would have been exposed to asbestos fibers.

  • Asbestos-containing insulation: Paper mills were generally older buildings and utilized steam to heat the facility and to run the paper-making equipment. Millwrights, welders, insulators, and pipefitters may have come into contact with asbestos-containing pipe insulation while performing their duties. Disturbing or replacing the insulation would have exposed a worker to asbestos fibers from that insulation.
  • Asbestos-containing dryer felts: Depending on the type of paper being made at the paper mill, asbestos-containing dryer felts may have been utilized on the paper machine. Cutting the dryer felts, changing the dryer felts or disturbing the dryer felts in any manner may have caused exposure to respirable asbestos fibers.
  • Asbestos-containing component parts: A paper machine and its componentry are just some of the equipment in a paper mill. There are many other types of equipment such as pumps, valves, and steam traps that are needed for the paper mill to run. Millwrights and maintenance mechanics are routinely exposed to asbestos from asbestos-containing packing and gaskets utilized in the pumps and valves in the mill.

Shepard Law has represented a number of individuals with exposure to asbestos from their work at various paper mills throughout New England and New York. We have had great success getting compensation for clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma from their work at the following paper mills:

  • Mead Specialty Papers — Lee, MA
  • Mohawk Fine Paper — Cohoes and Waterford, NY
  • Erving Paper — Erving, MA
  • Hollingsworth & Vose Co — Walpole, MA
  • Strathmore Paper — Russell, MA
  • Kimberly-Clark/Schweitzer — Lee, MA
  • Westfield River Paper Company — Russell, MA
  • Mountain Mill Paper Co. — Lee, MA
  • Rising Paper Co — Housatonic, MA
  • Crane Paper — Dalton, MA
  • St. Regis Paper Mill — NY

Because of the nature of mesothelioma, many individuals who worked in paper mills in the 1960s–1980s are only experiencing symptoms now. If you or a loved one worked with or around asbestos-containing products at a paper mill, monitor your health closely. And if you have further questions, feel free to contact our firm.


Assisting Families Affected by Mesothelioma: Quick and Meaningful Tips

Written by: Erika O’Donnell

A diagnosis of mesothelioma is extremely difficult on the whole family. There are so many questions to be answered, so many appointments to keep track of, and so many difficult decisions to be made. However, there are things that you can do to assist a family who is dealing with a diagnosis of mesothelioma:

Set up a meal train.

  • Patients with mesothelioma and their families have many appointments to go to and preparing healthy meals after a day filled with doctors’ appointments and/or treatments is easier said than done. Organizing a meal train is a helpful way to make sure the person diagnosed with mesothelioma and his/her caregiver is getting the nutrition they need.
  • There are many websites that can help you organize and participate in providing meals to the family in need such as https://www.mealtrain.com/ or https://www.takethemameal.com/.
  • Some friends and family may prefer to purchase a gift card rather than cooking a meal. Make a list of eateries that the person being treated for mesothelioma may like a gift certificate from. Good places to suggest are eateries in the area of the hospital and/or treatment facility and take-out places close to home.

Set up a care schedule.

  • Between doctor’s visits and treatments, a person diagnosed with mesothelioma has a lot to organize and a lot to consider when choosing where to treat for their disease. In Massachusetts, we are lucky to have some of the best hospitals in the world for the treatment of mesothelioma right in Boston. For many, the choice to be treated at these hospitals brings the stress of traveling into Boston. In some cases, having someone volunteer to drive a person with mesothelioma into Boston would provide great relief.
  • A person undergoing treatment will have a variety of needs (a ride to a doctor’s appointment, an appointment to get their glasses fixed, new socks, etc.). A care website will allow the person with mesothelioma to schedule the assistance they need. Friends and family can then volunteer through the site to provide the assistance. One such site is http://lotsahelpinghands.com/.

 

Providing family meals is a small but meaningful way to help out families.

Spend time.

  • Mesothelioma can be a very painful and debilitating disease. Many people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma also struggle with depression as a result of their diagnosis. Spending time with a person diagnosed with mesothelioma is a wonderful way to support them though their diagnosis. Remember, the patient may be suffering and is not there to entertain you. You are there to comfort them and provided some much needed respite for their caregiver.

Take care of technological needs.

Many people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma are older and not technologically advanced. There are many apps and websites that may benefit them greatly but they may not be aware of. Take some time to help that person:

  • Skype with a grandchild who lives far away
  • Set up a Netflix queue so when they have difficulty sleeping due to pain, they don’t have to watch infomercials
  • Show them how to play Candy Crush so that they have something to pass the time while getting chemotherapy treatments

Support their lawsuit.

  • Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew of the hazards of exposure to asbestos but continued using asbestos and did not warn persons coming into contact with it to take any precautions. For that reason, many patients diagnosed with mesothelioma choose to pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products that they came into contact with during their career. Asbestos can take between 15 and 60 years to cause disease in your body. Which means that in order to be successful in a lawsuit, a person with mesothelioma needs to prove the types of asbestos they were exposed to 15 – 60 years earlier. This is no easy feat. Many times, people with mesothelioma must reach out to co-workers to help them remember the products they worked with or the people they worked around. It is easy to brush off those inquiries for fear of being involved in litigation but taking those phone calls could mean a great deal to that family. Supporting the person’s lawsuit can set them up for financial assistance which will greatly help their family when paying for all the medical bills and other costs associated with treatment for mesothelioma.

For a family dealing with the consequences of mesothelioma, doing even just one of the above activities will be a great help to them. Don’t think that your small act of kindness and friendship won’t be appreciated by the family.


During Asbestos Awareness Week, Let’s Remember Caregivers Too

Written by: Shepard Law Firm Staff

With Global Asbestos Awareness Week approaching (April 1–7), we want to not only raise awareness of asbestos, but also the effects that a diagnosis of lung cancer or mesothelioma has on the family and caregivers of someone with lung cancer or mesothelioma. Therefore, let’s use this week in April as a reminder to support the individuals who spend their time and energy caring for others.

When someone is diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease their family typically rallies around that person to provide support, comfort, and care. Caregivers tend to get wrapped up in caring for their loved one and don’t always take the time to take care of themselves and deal with their own grief and loss due to the diagnosis. A caregiver spends their time driving their loved one to appointments, making sure that their loved one is taking all of the correct medicines, eating properly, and is as comfortable as possible, all while maintaining a home, paying bills, and educating themselves and their family on their loved one’s diagnosis and prognosis. This is extremely taxing on any one person and caregivers may feel stressed out, alone, or depressed. As difficult as it seems, caregivers need to remember to take care of themselves too!

If you are a caregiver, remember to:

    • Take Frequent Breaks: Although it may not seem possible to take breaks away from providing your loved one with your full attention, steal away time when you can. If someone comes to visit your loved one, do not feel that you have to entertain them. Take that time for yourself.
    • Accept Offers of Help: When friends and family offer to help, they mean it! It’s difficult to know how to help in situations where someone has been diagnosed with a serious disease, so don’t be afraid to tell trusted friends and family what they can do to help out. It can be as simple as asking them to bring over a meal, driving your loved one to an appointment, or coming over and making you laugh. They will appreciate knowing how to help you and you will have some much needed help.
      • A great tool that helps with this goal is a website like http://lotsahelpinghands.com/. This website helps you specify the assistance that you need and allows people in your circle of trust to sign up to provide that assistance for you. The site also provides you with a means to communicate directly with those in your private “community” to get information out.
    • Exercise: Taking time to do something for yourself is important. Take a walk around the block to clear your head or take a class that you enjoy.
      Create a Way to Get Information Out: Taking care of a loved one is a full time job and the constant calls asking for updates can be exhausting if you try to keep everyone informed. Create a way to update your friends and family without having to continually call each and every one of them. Options include:

      • Private group on Facebook: Setting up a private group will allow you to send private information to only those who you would like to have that information.
      • Create a blog: A blog allows you to communicate with anyone that wants information on you and your loved one. They are easy and free to set up using the WordPress website – https://wordpress.com.
      • Start a telephone tree: Give each person in your group a person to call when there is news. Call the first person on your list and ask that they call their contact person to share the news and contact the next person in line.
    • Join a Support Group: There are many local support groups for caregivers which allow a caregiver to get the support that they need to continue on with their very difficult support role. Check with your local hospitals or see the list below:
      • Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
      • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
      • UMass Medical Center, Worcester, MA
      • Bay State Hospital, Springfield, MA
      • SouthShore, Norwell, MA

At Shepard Law, we are fortunate to meet many wonderful clients and their supportive caregivers. We recognize that a diagnosis of mesothelioma doesn’t only affect the person being diagnosed with the disease. During this week, we wanted to take the time to thank the tireless caregivers that show such amazing strength, resilience, and compassion while taking care of their loved who have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma.

If you or a loved one is an undergoing treatment for lung cancer or mesothelioma and would like to learn more about your rights please call us for a free, confidential consultation at (617) 451-9191.


Taking Care of Our Caregivers

Written by: Erika O’Donnell

With the holidays quickly approaching, we look forward to celebrating this special time of year with our loved ones but recognize that it is a difficult time of year for many of our clients and their families. A diagnosis of lung cancer or mesothelioma can be devastating to a family and the thought of future holidays without a loved one can certainly make the holiday season very difficult for the families of those who have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma.

When someone is diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease their family typically rallies around that person to provide support, comfort and care. Loved ones are so wrapped up in caring for their loved one that they do not always take the time to take care of themselves and deal with their own grief and loss due to the diagnosis. A caregiver spends their time driving their loved one to appointments, making sure that their loved one is taking all of the correct medicines, eating properly and is as comfortable as possible all while maintaining a home, paying bills and educating themselves and their family on their loved ones diagnosis and prognosis. This can be extremely taxing on any one person and caregivers may feel stressed out, alone and depressed. As difficult as it seems, caregivers must take care of themselves!

Tips for Caregivers:

  • Take Frequent Breaks: Although it doesn’t seem possible to take breaks away from your loved one that needs your full attention, steal away time when you can. If someone comes to visit your loved one, do not feel that you have to entertain them. Take that time for yourself.
  • Accept Offers of Help: When friends and family offer to help they mean it! It is difficult to know how to help in situations where someone has been diagnosed with a serious disease so don’t be afraid to tell trusted friends and family what they can do to help out. Whether it is asking them to bring over a meal, to drive your loved one to an appointment or to come over and make you laugh, they will appreciate knowing how to help you and you will have some much needed help.
  • Exercise: Taking time to do something for yourself is important. Take a walk around the block to clear your head or take a class that you enjoy.
    Create a Way to Get Information Out: Taking care of a loved one is a full time job and as much as you may appreciate the constant calls asking for updates it can be exhausting trying to keep everyone informed. Create a way to update your friends and family without having to continually call each and every one of them. Options include:

    • Private group on Facebook: You could set up a private group which would allow you to send private information to only those who you would like to have that information
    • Create a blog: A blog would allow you to communicate with anyone that wanted information on you and your loved one. They are easy and free to set up using the WordPress website – https://wordpress.com/.
    • Start a telephone tree: Give each person in your group a person to call when there is news. Call the first person on your list and ask that they call their contact person to share the news and contact the next person in line.
  • Join a Support Group: There are many local support groups for caregivers which allow a caregiver to get the support that they need to continue on with their very difficult support role. Check with your local hospitals or see the list below:

At Shepard Law we are fortunate to meet many wonderful clients and their supportive caregivers. We recognize that a diagnosis of mesothelioma does not only affect the person being diagnosed with the disease. During this holiday season we wanted to take the time to thank the tireless caregivers that show such amazing strength, resilience, and compassion while taking care of their loved who have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma.

If you or a loved one is an undergoing treatment for lung cancer or mesothelioma and would like to learn more about your rights please call us for free, confidential consultation (617) 451-9191.