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Bill Giblin: True Grit

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Bill Giblin recently passed away leaving two minor children, Matthew (age ten) and Mark ( age seven) and his young wife, Deanne. Before he died, he asked his young children to come into his room. He told them he wanted them to see with their own eyes what the asbestos companies have done to their daddy.

Bill was a tough, no-nonsense, ruggedly independent man. Didn't like doctors. Refused to be operated on at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He was scheduled to undergo gene therapy at UPENN but he died a few days before his treatment was scheduled to begin.

Bill was exposed while serving in the U.S. Navy in the early 1950s. He worked for over 30 years as a sergeant detective on the East Coast, where he specialized in busting the mob. He's put away a lot of bad guys. He also inhaled asbestos dust from the ceilings, walls, floors, and hot water pipes in the police station in Providence, Rhode Island where he worked.

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I asked Mr. Giblin about the risks he encountered as police officer and detective.

Q. Have you ever been stabbed?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you ever been punched?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you ever been gouged, elbowed, kneed?

A. Kicked, punched, bitten, chewed.

Q. Chewed on?

A. Yes.

Q. Bitten?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Do you wear the marks of any of those insults upon your body?

A. They weren't insults. They were part of the job.

Bill Giblin

At the time of his deposition, Mr. Giblin bore the insult of a soft ball sized mesothelioma tumor jetting out under his right arm pit. Before his illness, Mr. Giblin was a picture of fitness. He reeled off 100 push ups and 150 to 200 sit ups every day, in addition to walking several miles.

Bill testified that he once helped convict drug dealers who sold a batch of poisonous heroin that killed several customers. I showed Mr. Giblin the brochure from OCF that stated that Kaylo was "non toxic and contributed to worker's well being" and asked him the following questions.

Q. Mr Giblin, you spent over 30 years as a police officer, detective, detective sergeant, and you have testified earlier that you investigated white collar crime and racketeering, is that right?

A. Yes sir.

Q. And you also talked about your investigations in a tainted heroin case that caused several deaths?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Based upon your experience as a detective and police officer, do you know if there is any difference in the culpability of that seller of tainted heroin back in the 60's and the culpability of the companies who told the world that their asbestos products actually "contributed to workers' well being" [as in the case of Kaylo]?

A. No difference whatsoever.

Q. If an individual instead of a corporation had made that statement with respect to the selling of crack, for example, by saying that the use of tainted crack cocaine `contributes to a person's well-being', as a criminal investigator do you believe the person who made that statement would be subject to criminal prosecution?

A. I believe so, yes. He'd be charged with fraud.

Q. If I could invite the CEOs and executive officers of the companies who manufactured the asbestos that you were exposed to, if I could invite them into your home here in Henderson, Nevada, and sit them down across from you and they would agree to show up, is there anything you would say or do to them?

A. I believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I would inject every one of them with this mesothelioma that I got in my chest right into theirs, positively.

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Bill and Deanne visited Dr. Dan Sterman at UPENN in April, 1996. To be eligible for the study, Bill could not undergo any surgery or chemotherapy or radiation. He was scheduled to receive his gene therapy treatment in late July. This meant that Bill had to decline a procedure called a talc pleurodesis, a procedure in which the pleural linings are bonded together in order to stop the accumulation of fluid in the lower lung linings. From the time of diagnosis to the time of death, Bill underwent a total of 14 drainages ("thoracenteses"). Each drainage involved the use of a very long needle that was inserted under the right ribcage to suck out the fluid accumulation. The average amount drained was about 1.5 liters (with a high of 3.5 liters).

After eight months of pain, insomnia, weight loss, fatigue and anguish, the mesothelioma tumor crashed in on Bill Giblin's heart and sucked the air out of his lungs. He died at home on August 6, 1996, with Deanne, Matthew and Mark at his side as well as his adult children Lori, Lynn, Michael and William.