January 31 2024

Raul’s story

Raúl Antonio Medina Ortiz worked as a Logistics Assistant for over 14 years for Incolbest SA, a company in Colombia manufacturing parts for vehicle brakes.

In his role, he managed inventories of raw materials, including chrysotile asbestos. At the end of 2017, Raúl started to feel unwell, experiencing problems with breathing, developing a permanent cough, chest pain and night sweats which led him to seek medical attention.

A few months later, he underwent a Pleural Effusion in hospital, a procedure used to drain fluid from the lung. At this time, a lung biopsy was also taken. Raúl was 42 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 3 malignant mesothelioma – a direct result of occupational exposure to asbestos.

Here is his story.

“I am 43 years old and I am from Bogotá.

At the end of December 2017, some relapses occurred in my state of health that increased in the following month: problems with my breathing, permanent cough, chest pain, night sweats, in short, symptoms that led me to attend my eps, Famisanar. There they told me not to worry, that it was asthma, and it could be controlled, for which they prescribed medication and respiratory therapy. I followed all the recommendations to the letter, while continuing with my daily life and without missing work.

I have shared many pleasant moments with them, thanks to the fact that we are very  close and we always hope that time does not change this.

But complications continued and my physical appearance was different. 14 and a half years ago I started my last job, in a company dedicated to the manufacture and sale of parts for brakes, called Incolbest SA. I was told that the company’s goal is to “save lives with brakes” and I thought that was very good. There I surrounded myself with spectacular people and acquired a lot of knowledge. I am a very enterprising, active, fair person, who likes teamwork and, also, with a good attitude and a very good sense of humor. This led me to create a good work environment that I miss today.

On February 5, 2018, I returned to the eps and the next day I found myself in intensive care at the Fundadores Clinic with an undetermined diagnosis. They only informed me that my right lung was full of fluid, and they had to proceed to take tests,  drain said fluid and perform a lung biopsy. I remained hospitalised for two weeks and came out with a diagnosis of third-degree malignant mesothelioma. I knew then that my life had changed!

At this time, 8 months after the diagnosis, I am undergoing chemotherapy treatment, a very difficult process, since this is accompanied by side effects on my delicate state of health. But, thanks to God and the unconditional support of my family, I have been able to endure them and today I am fighting lung cancer.

I promised my daughters and my wife that I will not fail them and that is why I will continue to fight… for myself, my family and all the people who are exposed to this mineral in their jobs today. Today I make my testimony known, thanking very much the people who are publishing it and those who are getting to know it, so that we realize that, as people, whether we call ourselves employees, businessmen or governors of the State, the solution is found in the hands: prohibit the use of this mineral and, little by little, reduce the mortality rate caused by this disease.”

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