A HUNTSMAN died after he was unseated by his horse and dragged into a tree with his foot caught in the stirrup, an inquest heard.

Gary Bradley, a whipper-in with Minehead Harriers, suffered multiple injuries in the accident and later died in hospital.

The 55-year-old’s family raised concerns about his treatment in hospital following the incident at the hearing in Taunton on Tuesday.

However, West Somerset coroner Michael Rose ruled hospital staff had acted correctly.

The inquest at the Old Municipal Buildings heard how Mr Bradley, of Timberscombe, had been riding on a hunt in Blagdon Wood when his horse ducked to avoid a gate and partially unseated him before dragging him down a steep embankment.

He was taken to Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital by air ambulance with multiple injuries including fractures to his pelvis, temple, face and ribs and a dislocated kneecap.

His condition deteriorated and a scan revealed he suffered a stroke while in hospital, something which can be brought on as a result of serious trauma.

Mr Bradley’s family, represented by a solicitor, questioned the decision to keep him on a ventilator when he could breathe on his own and why the stroke had gone unnoticed for 48 hours.

Giving evidence, Dr Andrew Daykin, intensive care consultant, said: “He had to be ventilated to keep him compliant for a CT scan – the patient has to be still. Patients who are confused can be a danger to themselves.

“There is a balance between the risks and benefits of ventilation; he would have died without it.

“It is very difficult to assess neurologically a patient who is on a ventilator and the changes which occurred as a result of the stroke would have been gradual.”

Mr Bradley was transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol on January 25, 2011 – ten days after the initial fall – where he died the next day.

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Rose said: “I am satisfied the team had proper reasons to ventilate him because of his agitation.

“Patients are known to pull away tubes that are inside them and this can be more dangerous.”