A man experienced problems breathing to the point he could barely function. He went to his doctor, who gave him a physical and told him everything was fine. Now he has terminal lung cancer, and he cannot even sue the practice that failed to diagnose him.
Americans are often fascinated with courtroom dramas. An intimate look at the legal system dealing with an important issue is reassuring for people who want to have faith in our democracy and our right to be heard. Although lawsuits often do provide reassurances and compensation to victims of grave injuries or illnesses, the truth is often messier than fiction.
Everyone who has been exposed to asbestos would like to think the stuff is sealed up in our past. The problematic fiber has been implicated in respiratory problems as serious as cancer in the last century, although it has been used in cookery and construction since the days of Ancient Greece.
When scientists determined that asbestos is hazardous to people's health, it began a revolution in the practices of product safety. Millions of dollars worth of materials were recalled from distributors, thousands of buildings had installed asbestos removed or contained and many people turned to the civil court system to seek the financial damages they needed to recover.
If you worked in an industry where asbestos exposure was a part of the job, you may have wondered for years, if not decades, what would happen to you in the future. When you began not feeling well, you may have thought your worst fears were realized -- you had mesothelioma, the rare cancer caused by exposure to this toxic material.
The Mississippi River Valley's end in Louisiana has been the heart of the economy in the Deep South for centuries. Although the water has brought a lot of commerce and transportation options, factories and refineries on parts of the river now nicknamed "Chemical Alley" dropped staggering quantities of noxious and dangerous substances into the environment of ordinary Louisianans.
Every once in a while, the nightly news on television gets your attention with the claim that "something in your house can kill you." Sometimes, the science is being turned into hype for shock value. But one recent case may involve the violation of trust by not making enough of the dangers in an everyday product.