A British man who died from injuries sustained from falling from a horse in Iceland did not disclose to medical staff at the National University Hospital what caused his injuries, out of fear that his insurance company would consider horseback riding a “dangerous sport” and drop coverage.
The Telegraph reports that the deceased, Paul Schofield, came to Iceland with his girlfriend, Rosalyn Davies, and amongst the activities they took part in was going on a horseback riding tour.
At some point in the trip, Paul fell from his horse, and assumed he had cracked ribs. Upon visiting the hospital, however, Paul told doctors that his injuries were the result of having “slipped on volcanic dust on a pavement” in Reykjavík.
“We were worried that [the insurance company] would consider horse riding to be a dangerous sport,” Rosalyn told reporters. “We didn’t appreciate at the time that the situation would become so serious and we thought that his injuries would be investigated at the hospital.”
As a result, Paul was given painkillers and sent on his way. He later collapsed back at his hotel, and was rushed back to hospital. He died during surgery, where it was discovered he had been suffering from internal bleeding as the result of ruptured spleen.
In addition to fearing his insurance company, Paul’s death may have also been related to circumstances at the hospital itself.
“There were a number of things that unfortunately weren’t spotted and that were missed by the hospital,” coroner Joanna Kearsley told reporters. “It was the missed opportunity to consider the seriousness of injury on X-ray which probably would have resulted in a CT scan. It was the falling from the horse, it was that incident which led to the splenic rupture.”
For her part, Rosalyn says, “We just hope that it doesn’t happen again to anybody. The hospital have said that they are making changes. This is a good thing for other people.”