Dubai: Betty Fernandes, the woman who died during a hip replacement surgery at a Dubai hospital on May 9, was a doting wife and mum who had so much to look forward to, according to her family and friends, who are still coming to terms with her death.
The 42-year-old mother of two — to a son aged 12 and a daughter aged 16 — was a celebrated baker, who ran a successful home baking enterprise named ‘Betty’s Cake Tales’ alongside her career as a senior secretary for a corporate firm.
Fernandes suffered a hip displacement at birth that left her in pain but she opted for a replacement after being told she would be able to ‘run in one month’ after surgery, according to a family member.
Fernandes’ husband Thomas Lobo told Gulf News: “At the 2018 bake-off contest organised by the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA), Betty won the first prize and she was so excited.”
She signed up for patisserie training at the ICCA to perfect her art and was due to complete the course in a couple of months. However, that was never to be.
A family member disclosed that during training, the painful hip troubled her as she had to stand for long hours, rolling out pastries. But she persevered, planning and researching her surgery meticulously.
A CT scan revealed that her bone had eroded and there was a gap which was causing the pain and the limp.
She chose Dr Samih Tarabichi at the Al Zahra Hospital in Al Barsha to conduct the surgery because she was convinced after meeting him that he would completely heal her hip.
Fernandes even took the trouble of finding three other patients of Dr Tarabichi and speaking to them in detail in an attempt to clear any nagging doubts she had about the operation.
Nervous before surgery
Nearly a week before the elective surgery, she underwent detailed pre-operative checks and a scan, including a pre-anaesthesia check (PAC), where she was given the all clear. A bit nervous that the date for surgery was so close, she actually asked the nurse: ‘Do you think this surgery will take place on May 9?’ And the nurse assured her it would take place as planned. Her parents arrived from India to be with her during the surgery and to help at home with the kids. Everything looked perfect. But it wasn’t to be.
All Fernandes was looking forward too was being back to absolute health, devoting her time to her job, kids and her passion for patisserie. Some day she dreamed of making her hobby a full-time business.
Paying tribute to Fernandes, her Dubai-based sister in law Jennifer Fernandes, told Gulf News: “Betty was an exceptionally wonderful person, beautiful inside and out. She had the kindest heart. A doting mother who took pride in her daughter and son, she would fulfil their every need.
“She was a caring wife and a beloved daughter and sister, she was especially an amazing friend to me than a sister in law, we would chat on the phone constantly and take the kids out together most of the time.
“Betty was a wonderful aunt to her nephew, would spoil him with gifts and her delicious cakes. Before she was going into surgery she was still worried about baking a cake for his fourth birthday this month, and I reassured her that she could always bake a cake for his upcoming birthdays and even his wedding for that matter, but for the moment I advised her to take it easy, and focus on the rest and recovery post-surgery. She had laughed at the thought of baking a cake for his wedding.
Her win at the ICCA’s Big Baking Tent Bake off UAE gave her an opportunity to explore and train in the pattisiere course that was ongoing.
“She put a smile on a lot of faces with her work. Betty though you are gone, you’ll always remain a part of us, in our hearts and in our lives. We love you and miss you,” Fernandes said.