Constructed in 1965, University Hospital is a teaching and research hospital for the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University. The hospital is located on East Adams Street in Syracuse, New York. Originally, Upstate Medical University was founded in 1834 as the Geneva Medical College, which was associated with Hobart College. In 1871, the medical school was donated to Syracuse University. Syracuse University sold the medical school to SUNY in 1950, and it currently serves as one of the largest hospitals in the Syracuse area. Physicians at University Hospital practice in various areas of medicine, including oncology, neuroscience, pediatrics and orthopedics. The Emergency Department at University Hospital is the busiest emergency room in Central New York, and it is the only Level One Trauma Center in the region.
Prior to the late 1970s, laborers utilized asbestos-containing fireproof insulation, pipe covering, insulating cement and block insulation during the construction and maintenance of University Hospital. Workers who applied, removed and maintained asbestos-containing materials are at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Workers applied fireproof insulation to the structural steel at University Hospital in order to protect the steel from potential fire damage. Fireproof insulation was typically a dry mixture of waste linen, cement and asbestos, and it was packaged in heavy paper bags. The dry insulation mix was poured into a machine, mixed with water and sprayed onto structural steel with a hose. Pouring, mixing and spraying fireproof insulation emitted clouds of asbestos-containing dust and fibers. After fireproofing was applied, it was common for tradesmen, such as electricians or carpenters, to scrape the fireproof insulation from the structural steel in order to install conduits or framing studs. Disturbing fireproof insulation also caused asbestos fibers to become airborne, which workers inhaled.
University Hospital was heated by steam produced in boilers. Steam was delivered to radiators through a system of pipes. Asbestos-containing insulation covered boilers, pipes, valves and pumps within the steam system. Workers removed and reapplied asbestos-containing insulation during maintenance or repair procedures. Removing and applying asbestos-containing insulation released asbestos dust and fibers, which workers inhaled.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects for University Hospital were employed by various contractors throughout Central New York. If you or a loved one were once employed in connection with the construction or maintenance of University Hospital and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.