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– Diana’s Story –
Mesothelioma – Its Impact On An Individual And Their Family


My name is Mike Gertler.

I’m a personal injury attorney with the Gertler Law Firm.

This firm has some of the most experienced Mesothelioma attorneys in New Orleans, if not the country.

I would like to take a moment to tell you Diana’s tragic story.

At the age of 33, Diana was told that she had Mesothelioma and would die from this cancer.  Diana knew what she faced because she was a cancer nurse.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos.  It is not caused by smoking.

Mesothelioma is a specific kind of cancer that attacks the lining around the lungs called the pleura.

If you think of the lungs as two balloons, the lining should be elastic so the lungs can easily expand and contract to allow a person to draw in air.  When a person has Mesothelioma, the lung, normally smooth, is encased with a thick rind-like tumor, hardening it and making it difficult to expand.

The individual with Mesothelioma has to fight for every breath…. while many times this aggressive tumor invades other parts of the body.

It is a disease with no cure, is excruciatingly painful – and is always fatal.

We first met Diana through her family.  We were already in the process of assisting her dad, who had been diagnosed with asbestosis and lung cancer, which are also associated with exposure to asbestos.

After being notified that Diana had been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, our firm flew to her home in Las Vegas to meet her.

When she opened the door, frankly, we were taken aback.  Instead of seeing an individual suffering the effects of Mesothelioma, Diana appeared as a striking and healthy young woman.

She and her two small children were sitting at a table eating watermelon.   Her daughter kept wriggling through Diana’s legs like a fish.  The meeting began so normally – only we were meeting with a client diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Diana was exposed to asbestos as a result of her dad’s work as a career asbestos insulator.  In fact, he worked for a time at the Dow Chemical Plant in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

He brought asbestos dust home to his family, day after day, on his dirty clothes and on his person.  Like all fathers, when he got home he would hug his kids, hold them in his arms and sometimes even wrestle with them.

This interaction would release asbestos fibers into the air – and his children would breath in the air containing the asbestos fibers.

In addition, Diana’s mom washed her husband’s clothes each evening, shaking out the dust from the clothes before she threw them into the washing machine.  This too released thousands of asbestos fibers into the air.

During our initial two hour meeting with Diana in Las Vegas, she did not cry.  Diana understood the catastrophic nature of her illness.  Still, she was warm, friendly and strong – Diana wanted to pursue a lawsuit to provide for her children’s future.

Diana asked a lot of questions during our meeting, such as:

  • What is expected of me if I file a lawsuit?
  • How long will it take to resolve my case?
  • Can I settle my case out of court, or will I have to go to trial?

And we asked her dozens of questions so we could move quickly to file the lawsuit – which she patiently and thoughtfully answered.

After our first visit, we traveled 3 more times to Las Vegas to see her.  On the final visit, she weighed 80 pounds and had lost all of her hair due to her chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  She couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and the tumor had grown so extensively it appeared as a horrible rash all over her body.

We spoke on the phone several times a week.  Some our attorneys became very close to her mother and communicated regularly.  We got to know the rest of Diana’s circle as well, including her fiancé, ex-husband, sisters, and co-workers.

Going forward with the lawsuit was difficult.  Her dad had died of lung cancer and asbestosis several years before Diana was diagnosed with Mesothelioma.

As a result, we never had the chance to talk to him about where he had worked.  He left no records.   We had to recreate his work history.   An asbestos insulator typically works thousands of small jobs – lasting from a few days to a year.

It is quite a challenge to figure out a work history 30 years after the fact.   We routinely tracked down insulators at night and on weekends to get information.  We traveled all over the country to depose insulators from other states.

The case took about a year and a half to complete.  We settled for millions of dollars, which was put aside for Diana’s three children.

Diana passed away shortly after the settlement was reached.  And we will never forget the courage and poise she showed.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, or other occupational lung diseases such as asbestosis or silicosis, please pick up the phone and give one of our New Orleans Mesothelioma lawyers a call.

Please call our office at 504-581-6411…. if the call is long distance, use our toll-free number at 877-581-6411.

The call or meeting is confidential – and absolutely FREE.

Our promise to you is this – we will put forth the same effort for you or your family.

I thank you for visiting our website…. and if you need help, please do call.