Originally Anchorage Presbyterian Hospital, Alaska Hospital and Medical Center (later to become Alaska Regional Hospital) relocated in 1976 from its original campus at 8th and L Streets to a seven story facility on DeBarr Road. Alaska Hospital and Medical Center was constructed and financed with a $31 million loan from the Alaska Teamsters Union Local 959 pension fund. In exchange, Teamsters 959 members received discounted rates for hospital services.
The new hospital was initially plagued with financial difficulties. According to the Anchorage Daily News, in its first year of operation the hospital was forced to borrow money to meet payroll obligations. In 1994, Alaska Regional Hospital became a part of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the largest private operator of hospitals in the world. Local Teamsters continue to receive preferred rates.
Asbestos Use at Alaska Regional and Anchorage Presbyterian
The old Anchorage Presbyterian Hospital at 8th and L Streets opened in 1963. During the mid twentieth century, asbestos was a common and affordable choice for roofing, flooring, insulation, and a variety of other uses. Alaska Hospital and Medical Center was constructed just as the United States Environmental Protection Agency began to institute its first bans on asbestos-containing materials. Spray-applied asbestos-containing fire-proofing insulation was banned in 1973, and asbestos pipe insulation was banned in 1975.
It is possible some of these materials were still in use when construction on the newer facility began. Pipe fitting insulation and sprayed-on asbestos coatings are considered to be some of the most dangerous types of asbestos-containing materials because they are friable, meaning they crumble easily when disturbed, releasing dangerous fibers into the air.
Asbestos Exposure at Alaska Regional and Anchorage Presbyterian: Know Your Rights
Workers may have come into contact with asbestos fibers during construction of Anchorage Presbyterian Hospital, during construction of the newer hospital campus on DeBarr road, or during their course of employment at either facility. Although some of the dangers associated with inhalation of asbestos fibers were understood by the early twentieth century, asbestos use in the United States ballooned following the post-World War II construction boom, eventually climbing to 1400 million pounds per year.
Employers did not take every precaution they could to protect their workers from asbestos exposure, often with fatal consequences. If you have mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure at either of these hospitals or at another job site, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Bergman Draper Oslund today, for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.