Fatal Bird Droppings

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 Steve Burks was employed at Winchester Prison before he was forced to retire on medical grounds.  Mr Burks contracted a lung disease caught from the droppings of pigeons fed by the prison inmates.  He contracted the disease known as "bird fancier's lung" after inhaling fumes from droppings left by pigeons enticed to cell window ledges by prisoners who treated them as pets.

The disease left Mr Burks virtually unable to walk because the debilitating illness left him so out of breath.  He was reliant on an oxygen supply and medication to get through the day and was awaiting a lung transplant.  Sadly, the 54 year old died before a transplant was available.

Mr Burks had commenced a claim for damages from the Prison Service and Ministry of Justice but died before the claim was settled.  His wife, Lynda is now continuing his claim.  Before his death, Mr Burks warned colleagues to wear protective clothing and advised his employers failed to correctly advise him.

Southampton Coroner's Court held that Mr Burks, who had never bred or raised pigeons, died from extrinsic allergic alveolitis caused by exposure to the birds waste at work.

I wish Lynda the best of luck in pursing her husbands claim and hope that she obtains the result her husband would have wanted, of course this will mean little compared to her sad loss.

Karen Hayden
Legal Executive - Personal Injury Team.

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