Interview with Phil the Welder

Interview with Phil the Welder

HSE Video: Dr David Fishwick interviews Phil Hydes, asthma sufferer

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Transcript of interview:

Dr David Fishwick Perhaps you could start just by telling us how old you are Phil and what your occupation was when you developed occupational asthma.

Phil Hydes I’m err 50 now and I first developed it about 34, 35 year old when I first started having systems of this.

Dr David Fishwick What was your job when you were first started having problems.

Phil Hydes Plater welder.

Dr David Fishwick When did you first develop problems with your breathing.  How many years had you been working as a welder before your first developed problems.

Phil Hydes Phew I started when I was 15.  I first started noticing problems with me breathing when I was about 34, 35.  But I haven’t always worked at this particular company, I had worked at a different company, but the last company where I got the problems.  I’ve worked there for 20 year.

Dr David Fishwick What did you first notice with your breathing.

Phil Hydes Err a tightness.  I first noticed it when I just went to bed one night and I woke up and I couldn’t breathe and I’d never I’d never experienced that, because I’d always played football.  I was always fit and I just never I never smoked in me life.  I never experienced not being able to breathe and err it got me down because it’s just an awful feeling you feel as though your drowning.

Dr David Fishwick Yeah it must be very frightening.

Phil Hydes And err it is.  And err err I noticed this and err I had it for well I just had it for about a week before I decided to go to the Doctors with it.

Dr David Fishwick Right so you went to your family doctor.

Phil Hydes I went to me GP.

Dr David Fishwick What happened to you after the diagnosis was made.  You had to stop working didn’t you.

Phil Hydes When it were first diagnosed when I was actually told that it was occupational asthma err he did say finish with welding.  But he said to me finish with stainless steel welding.  It’s stainless steel what’s causing you this problem.  So I just went and got a job on mild steel.

Dr David Fishwick When did you give up completely welding.

Phil Hydes Because.  When did I give up.

Dr David Fishwick  Hmm.

Phil Hydes Err 1992.

Dr David Fishwick So what were the reasons that made you carry on welding even though you knew it may be harming yourself.

Phil Hydes Desperation.  I needed a job.

Dr David Fishwick Yeah.

Phil Hydes I had 2 young children and a wife.

Dr David Fishwick Yeah yeah.

Phil Hydes And I needed a job and I needed a living and nobody could answer me and I was only a young man.  I were only in me 30’s, 30’s and I thought this can’t I just can’t not work.

Dr David Fishwick Yeah.

Phil Hydes It’s just I’ve worked all me life I worked 7 days a week and when someone turns round to you and says no more work that’s it.  It’s err devastating and I just couldn’t accept it and I wouldn’t accept it.

Dr David Fishwick Yeah.

Phil Hydes And I carried on and I got another job but it were really getting to a stage where I were really I were having 4 and 5 inhalers a month and then it started then the people folk started to think there’s something wrong with you.  There’s something really wrong you shouldn’t be having this.

Dr David Fishwick So presumably stopped working pretty much around that time.

Phil Hydes Yeah.

Dr David Fishwick What did happen to your breathing over the months and years after you stopped being a welder.

Phil Hydes Well it, when I were in you know where I were away from it I felt better.

Dr David Fishwick Hmm.

Phil Hydes I did feel better when I were away but I’d been at if for that long I’d the damage was too far I damaged meself cause I carried on but I did feel a lot better.  But it just it never went away then.

Dr David Fishwick OK.

Phil Hydes It was just with me all the time.

Dr David Fishwick So what are you like now Phil what could you do on the flats for example in terms of walking.

Phil Hydes 50 yard.

Dr David Fishwick OK.

Phil Hydes 50 yard and then I have to use my inhaler.

Dr David Fishwick And what about a flight of stairs.

Phil Hydes Oh no.  Well I can or any incline very difficult now.  It seems to have gradually got err worse as I’ve got older and err life is difficult very difficult now.

Dr David Fishwick Could you kick a football around in the park.

Phil Hydes No no no I couldn’t and I missed all well I could never run around with me 2 daughters in the park when I got it.

Dr David Fishwick So what your saying is it actually quite dramatically affected your family life.

Phil Hydes Yeah it did.  …… life me social life.  Me err financially it it err not saying it ruined me but it sent me back a lot you know.  Luckily me wife err took a part time job and that alters …….   Erm very fortunate me own doctor err told me to claim certain benefits which I didn’t want to claim.

Dr David Fishwick Yeah.

Phil Hydes Disability. Living Allowance I wouldn’t claim it.  And he had me wife he phoned my wife up and he told her you must claim this this is what it’s for but err I didn’t want to claim it.

Dr David Fishwick I’ve pretty much finished me questions, but are there any other thoughts that you’ve got yourself that you would like to tell us about that have cropped up.

Phil Hydes I think the compensation system for people, the industrial disease it’s awful it’s terrible.

Dr David Fishwick Hmm.

Phil Hydes I think they make people jump through hoops and err it takes far far too long.  And when when I actually got to the stage when I got to the doors at Manchester High Court and they settled it.

Dr David Fishwick Hmm.

Phil Hydes They admitted it and then the Judge said even though they had admitted it.

Dr David Fishwick Hmm.

Phil Hydes Mr Right.  The Judge said Mr Right should never have had to wait 6 year for this.  You knew, so they they kept us going kept me going, they were hoping like they do with a lot of people in my position.  Your going to die.  That’s what they were hoping really I was going to die before I get me money.

Dr David Fishwick Hmm.

Phil Hydes And the other thing is err the benefit system err is awful.  It doesn’t treat people with dignity.

Dr David Fishwick Hmm.

Phil Hydes You know.  I ended up like this not through I didn’t want to go to work.  I ended up through going to work and of course I didn’t want to go to work and I just think the benefit system for these people is absolutely awful, and I think people ought to be err made to realise what you have to do to get certain benefits.

Dr David Fishwick You must feel fairly angry and aggrieved however that a young man is placed in a position of being very short of breath even at rest.

Phil Hydes Bitter.

Dr David Fishwick From work exposures.

Phil Hydes Very bitter, very bitter.  But I can’t carry on being very bitter all my life.

Dr David Fishwick Yeah.

Phil Hydes It’s happened to me and I have to accept it and I have to get on with my life.  Whatever life I’ve got left I have to err just accept.  It’s no good me going through life banging a drum and being bitter with everybody.  I got it.  I’m bitter but I got it when it could have been avoided.  That’s what makes you bitter.  And I’m bitter that people made me go through all different hoops and see different doctors and they all come to the same conclusion.  I’m bitter about that but you just have to get on with your life.  There’s nothing else I can do.

Dr David Fishwick OK thank you.