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Mesothelioma Lawyer - Article - Youngsville asbestos victim watches Senate fight over compensation bill

Posted on Feb 07, 2006 | TheAdvertiser.com

Youngsville asbestos victim watches Senate fight over compensation bill

Kayla Gagnet

YOUNGSVILLE - As U.S. senators argued from her television set Monday, Betty Lerille talked about the end of her life.

It's an odd thing, talking about imminence of her death on days like today, when she feels well, on what she calls "a good day."

Lerille has mesothelioma, a cancer caused directly and only by exposure to asbestos. Those senators were arguing about the FAIR Act, or the Asbestos Bailout Bill. It would create a $140 billion trust fund to pay compensation to asbestos victims.

Advocates say it would speed up the process of getting money to the sick, as well as help keep smaller businesses out of bankruptcy caused by costly asbestos claims.

But Lerille and other opponents worry it could keep sick people from getting what they deserve.

"I won't live, probably, to see it one way or another," said Lerille, whose doctor gave her a year to live in April 2005. "But this isn't only about me. This is about victims, now and in the future... because this disease is not going to stop today."

The U.S. Senate will vote at 5 p.m. Lafayette time today on whether to bring the bill up for consideration.

Last week, Lerille and her husband Norman traveled to Washington , D.C. , to meet with staff members in Sen. Mary Landrieu's and Sen. David Vitter's offices. They were hoping to convince the senators to oppose the bill.

"If this bill passes, as it is now, (Betty) could not get compensation because it's secondary exposure," Norman Lerille said.

Secondary exposure means Betty Lerille did not work directly with asbestos or in an industry that used asbestos. She came in contact with it through secondary means.

"I guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Betty Lerille said. "I'm 58 years old. To be told I'm not going to see my grandkids grow up ... Do I look sick? No, not today. It's just that I can't breathe."

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Mesothelioma Symptoms

The most common Mesothelioma symptoms are the following:

Recent onset of shortness of breath (31%)
Recent increase in shortness of breath (30%)
Chest pain (43%)
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