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Former King's Lynn hospital nurse 'exposed to asbestos during factory work', inquest told

A coroner has heard that a former nurse who died from an asbestos-related illness may have first been exposed to it when she was just 16.

Sharon Payne, who was 50, died at the Norfolk Hospice Tapping House in Hillington in April.

She had been living with a form of mesothelioma for more than 20 years prior to her death.

Norfolk Coroner's Court
Norfolk Coroner's Court

An inquest into her death, held via remote conference call at the coroner's court in Norwich today, was told that Mrs Payne, a retired staff nurse at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, had been diagnosed with the condition in 1998.

Prior to her nursing career, she had several spells working in the fruit and vegetable processing sector between 1985 and 1988.

In a statement which was read to the court, her husband Michael said she had been exposed to asbestos while working in poorly maintained buildings during that period.

He added: "I believe that caused her condition."

Mrs Payne, who lived in North Pickenham and was a popular figure at the Swaffham Cricket Club, had received specialist care at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and the Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she took part in a trial three years ago. She was also in receipt of industrial injury disability benefit.

The inquest heard Mrs Payne's health had deteriorated over a period of several months before she was admitted to the QEH on March 30, having lost the use of her left side. She died at Hillington on April 3.

The medical cause of death was recorded as metastatic mesothelioma, combined with multiple pulmonary emboli.

Assistant coroner Simon Milburn said he had "no reason" to doubt or dispute where Mrs Payne had been exposed to asbestos.

He concluded that Mrs Payne had died from an industrial disease.

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