A GRANDFATHER has died after being left in a coma for nine days after slipping on black ice outside his home.
Donald Husband, 78, fell and struck his head as he crossed his street to give a set of keys to a neighbour. The widower never regained consciousness, and doctors told family that he was unlikely to recover.
The retired dock foreman, who lived in Newton Church Road in Danderhall, Midlothian, was able to breathe again by himself a few days before Christmas but he died on Christmas Day.
His son, William, 54, a mechanical engineer who lives in Thurso with his wife, Elspeth, 55, said: “I got a phone call from one of his neighbours to tell me about the accident, and that my father was being taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. I drove down from Thurso that day and found he had been transferred to the Western General Hospital.
“The doctors were great but they told me the chances of him pulling through were extremely slim. They said it was normal that he might show signs of improvement but that would probably come before he slipped down again.
“We saw flickers of movement which gave us some hope, and he was taken off the ventilator and could breathe by himself, but he was in a coma the whole time.
“I went back home on December 23 and the doctors said it was just a matter of time. I told them to phone whenever anything happened so they called us with the news on Christmas morning.
“It’s terribly sad because he was fit and active and still had some good years left in him.”
Douglas Wood, 49, a friend of Mr Husband’s for 15 years, said: “It was a tragic accident. He was doing a good turn for a neighbour by bringing over a set of keys when he slipped on black ice in the street beside his house. He was a well-kent face who was always involved with different groups and interests. A lot of people knew him and they’re going to miss him.”
Born in Johnstone in Renfrewshire in 1933, Mr Husband started work as a docker in Glasgow after leaving school at 15. He later completed his national service with the RAF, including being stationed in Australia.
Mr Husband moved to Danderhall in 1955 with wife Joan and took a job at the docks in Granton, later moving to Leith docks and retiring as a foreman. Mrs Husband died in 2005 after 49 years of marriage. The couple had one son, William, and three grandchildren, Karen, 30, Gail, 28, and Kenny, 24.
Mr Husband was a keen gardener who organised flower shows in Danderhall and was a judge with the Royal Horticultural Society. A Hearts fan, he was also a regular at horse-racing meetings at Musselburgh, Kelso and Perth.
He was a church officer at Danderhall and Newton Parish Church, where his funeral was held on Saturday.