Furness dental surgeon suffered ‘catastrophic’ head injury after falling down stairs – inquest

A WELL-RESPECTED Furness dental surgeon suffered a ‘catastrophic’ head injury after falling down the stairs, an inquest heard.

Gordon Thistlethwaite, who ran a dental surgery in Ulverston for much of his long career as a dentist, died on May 19 following an accident at his home in Ireleth, Askam.

The 79-year-old was described as ‘well-respected’ and a ‘dedicated professional’ by his wife of 28 years Louise during an inquest held at Cockermouth Coroners’ Court yesterday.

Gordon Thistlethwaite <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>Gordon and Louise Thistlethwaite (Image: Submitted)

Paramedics attended the couple’s home in Ireleth just after 1am following a report that a man was unconscious and not breathing after falling down the stairs, the court heard.

Mrs Thistlethwaite told paramedics that she was on her way to bed when she heard a loud noise and found her husband lying on the floor.

Paramedics said Mr Thistlethwaite was ‘completely unresponsive’ and his blood pressure was extremely elevated, indicative of a major head injury.

Mr Thistlethwaite was taken to Furness General Hospital ‘gravely ill’ with a ‘catastrophic head injury’.

Mrs Thistlethwaite was told her husband was unlikely to recover and to prepare herself for the worst outcome.

Mr Thistlethwaite tragically died in the emergency department at 2am of a subdural haematoma.

Mrs Thistlethwaite described her husband’s death as a ‘terrible shock’ for his loved ones.

She said: “It was such a terrible shock for the many people – family, friends and former staff – who were so fond of Gordon. He was a great person, very young-at-heart, and is hugely missed.

“It was completely shocking. He was a very healthy and fit man who was much younger than his years. We were planning a holiday at the time. This was totally out of the blue.”

She also expressed thanks to the paramedics and hospital team who helped the family at such a ‘terrible time’.

She said: “My thanks go out to the paramedics and team at Furness General Hospital who were marvellous throughout at such a terrible time. He would have been very grateful to them.”

Mr Thistlethwaite grew up and lived most of his life in Ulverston, attending Lightburn School, Victoria High and Ulverston Grammar School, before studying for his dental degree at Glasgow University, graduating in the late 1960s.

Mr Thistlethwaite was a popular and respected dentist, running a surgery in Benson Street, Ulverston and denture clinics at Furness Dental Lab in Greengate Street, Barrow.

A keen rugby player in his youth, Mr Thistlethwaite was a former secretary of Furness Rugby Union Club in Barrow, playing competitively until his late 40s.

He was a talented pianist who derived much pleasure from playing classical music with friends.

Along with his wife Louise, Mr Thistlethwaite leaves a sister, Elaine; three children from previous marriages, Donna, Gregory and Max; and four grandchildren, Tom, Emily, Mei and An Ni.

Coroner Nicholas Shaw recorded a verdict of accidental death.


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