Fat embolism ruled as the cause.

34 year old Richard Jennings died five days after a fall on a steep descent at Hamsterley Forest that saw him break his leg and wrist.

The crash occurred on February but the inquest has only been completed this week. According to a report in the Northern Echo, Mr Jennings went over his handlebars and broke his leg and wrist. Marrow from a broken bone passed into Mr Jennings’ bloodstream and this caused problems for his lungs.

Assistant coroner Dr Leslie Hamilton said: “There was concern that his oxygen levels were falling significantly – his lungs weren’t working very well. Mr Jennings had a fat embolism – that’s where the marrow of the broken bone is released into the bloodstream and marrow contains globules of fat. When that gets to the lungs they get filtered out but they block the transfer of oxygen into the bloodstream. Richard continued to deteriorate and had to be put onto a ventilator and was receiving 100 per cent oxygen.”

Mr Jennings was transferred to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester as it is Europe’s largest extra corporeal membrane oxygenation centre – basically heart and lung failure.

Dr Hamilton continued, “The majority of people with a broken leg recover uneventfully after an operation. However, some patients develop an embolism and there’s no specific treatment for that. Despite the use of cutting edge technology, he died. It’s a rare complication, but even rare complications do happen from time to time.”

The inquest concluded that Mr Jennings’ death on March 2 was accidental.

Mr Jennings was known by his friends as ‘Stitch’ due to a branded baseball cap he used to wear. There is a tribute page on Facebook set up by his Mum, called ‘STITCH-ing the world together‘.

“Just a thought from Sandra (Richard ‘Stitch’ mum), to keep the Stitch baseball cap going ‘ how far can it travel around the world ‘ , if everyone that has one wouldn’t mind taking a photograph of the Stitch cap while on their travels and then maybe posting it on Facebook we would like to compile some sort of album for people to see and possibly create some kind of record, hopefully you can help.” – STITCH-ing the world together

Our thoughts go out to Mr Jennings’ family and friends after this tragic accident.