Mother-of-two who used to welcome home her shipyard worker dad with a hug dies after breathing in his asbestos ridden clothes
A mother-of-two died of cancer because she used to welcome her shipyard worker father home from work each night with a hug, an inquest heard today.
Annette Bhatti, who was just 49, also helped her ill mother to scrub her father’s work uniform by hand more than 40 years ago.
They did not know at the time that they were breathing in deadly dust particles from his asbestos-ridden clothes.
Mrs Bhatti, a housing officer, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2010. She married her long-term partner Bal Bhatti a month later. Just 18 months later, in December last year, she lost her battle with the lung disease at her home in Southampton, Hampshire.
Her death has left her surviving father, now a pensioner, devastated and inconsolable. Mesothelioma is normally associated with people over 50 and more commonly among men who worked at shipyards. Mrs Bhatti’s father Lawrence Ramplee, now a pensioner, was exposed to asbestos while employed by Hills Construction in Eastleigh, Hampshire. He was later further exposed to asbestos during shifts at ship repairers Harland and Wolff at the city’s docks when Annette was just a toddler.
Mr Ramplee’s jobs involved cutting up 10ft corrugated asbestos sheets by hand, coroner Keith Wiseman heard. His work clothing was worn home where Mrs Bhatti was ‘exposed to the dust fibres in the air’ at a very young age. She helped to wash his clothes because her mother was ill with lung disease.
Mr Wiseman said: “The clothing worn during the week was taken home to be cleaned at home. Somewhat tragically, Mr Ramplee recalls occasions giving his daughter a hug when he got home before he changed. In later childhood Annette was often doing the laundry herself because her mother was not always entirely well. The washing was done by hand so she was exposed to dust fibres in the air. This was from a very young age.”
He added: “There was never any warning about working with this particular substance. One doesn’t have to be working oneself in industry to die in this way. Annette’s exposure to the industrial disease occurred very much indirectly, when her father Mr Ramplee was employed from the mid 50s. There was significant asbestos exposure during a long period of time.”
Speaking after the inquest, her brother Stuart Ramplee said his sister “was so full of life” and travelled extensively the year she died, visiting Hong Kong, New York, Australia, the Seychelles and Dubai.