Iraq veteran’s death linked to self-tattoo

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A dad who turned his life around and served in Iraq died as a tragic consequence of his teenage lifestyle.

An inquest, led by deputy coroner Alan Walsh, recorded that Christopher Goodison’s death was caused by Hepatitis C, arising from the use of needles as a youngster, which may have been linked to his self-tattooing.

The hearing, at Bolton, told how the 49-year-old, who grew up in St Helens, took ill and died at his home in Blenheim Road, Ashton, on September 17 last year.

He was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1996 and as a result, suffered from sclerosis. He needed a liver transplant but refused, as he didn’t want to take the organ from someone else who needed it, knowing it would not save his life.

His wife, Amanda, told the hearing that Christopher had joined the Territorial Army as a royal engineer and served in Iraq. He was also a security guard at Rainhill Hospital.

She added that when she met Christopher in 2002, he told her he had Hepatitis C, believing it was as a result of him tattooing himself when he was younger.

In 2011, Christopher, who had suffered a stroke two years earlier, was told he only had 12 months to live.

But he did not want to spend the remainder of his time in hospital and enjoyed a family holiday in Portugal.

On September 10 last year, he felt drowsy and believed he had reached the end of his life and went to Wigan and Leigh Hospice. He left three days later and died with his wife present at home,

Dr Julie Dobson, consultant physician in gastroenterology at Whiston Hospital, said: “The progression of the Hepatitis C had caused irreparable damage to his liver.

“It is impossible to say where the source was, whether it was infection from the tattoo needles, or something else.

“Unless needles are sterilised, they can cause great risk.

“Quite often, a person who is infected will have no idea they have it until 20 or 30 years later. The damage was apparent by scarring of the liver and that developed into sclerosis.”

A post mortem revealed that Christopher, who had a son and a step-son, died of sclerosis of the liver and Hepatitis C infection.

Mr Walsh said: “It is impossible to establish the underlying reason for the use of needles. But he believed it was from his tattoos.

“The cause of Hepatitis C goes back probably 30 years and sadly it had catastrophic effect later.

“He was very committed and hard working and joined the TA and served his country with great courage and bravery. He took a very selfless outlook not to have a liver transplant as he felt it would be better use for someone else.

“He knew he was going to die and faced that with great dignity and strength.”