Buffalo General Hospital was founded in 1858 by several local doctors and businessmen. On June 24, 1858, former President of the United States Millard Fillmore presided over the dedication ceremony. Located on High Street in Buffalo, New York, Buffalo General was the first hospital in the state of New York, outside of New York City, to use mercury thermometers, hypodermic injections and x-ray machines. Throughout its over 150 year history, Buffalo General Hospital has undergone numerous building expansions and renovations. With 511 beds, it is one of the largest hospitals in Western New York. Buffalo General Hospital also serves as the primary teaching hospital for the University of Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Up until the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated into dozens of materials used during the construction of Buffalo General. Fireproof insulation, joint compound, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, packing material, block insulation, pipe covering and insulating cement were used in the construction and maintenance of the hospital. Inhaling dust and particles from applying or removing asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk for developing mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Construction and renovation projects at Buffalo General Hospital involved many trades, including electricians, carpenters, pipefitters, insulators, plasterers and laborers. Structural steel was covered with asbestos-containing fireproof insulation in order to protect the steel from potential fire damage. Joint compound sealed seams between sheets of drywall, and it covered nail and screw holes in the drywall. Joint compound was applied and sanded in order to create a smooth surface for paint application. Asbestos-containing ceiling and floor tiles were installed throughout the hospital. Asbestos was incorporated into ceiling and floor tiles because of its inherent strength and resistance to fire. Steam and hot water pipes were covered with asbestos-containing pipe covering and insulating cement, in order to protect the pipes and to provide a stable internal temperature within plumbing systems. Asbestos block insulation was applied to ventilation ducts and steam boilers, which provided increased efficiency to the heating and cooling systems. Pump shafts and valve stems were sealed with asbestos-containing gaskets and packing material in order to prevent water or steam from leaking out of the equipment.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects for Buffalo General Hospital were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed in connection with the construction of Buffalo General Hospital and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.