GP died after freak cycling accident near Amsterdam
PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:44 28 January 2020
A former GP died after crashing his bicycle into a wall and landing on the roadside below, an inquest has heard.
Nick Ireland, who lived in Freethorpe, Great Yarmouth, was on a cycling holiday with friends in Holland when the freak accident occurred on a cycle path in Overveen, near Amsterdam.
The 76-year-old was knocked unconscious and placed on life support for 12 days until June 21, 2019, when his family elected to withhold further treatment.
Dr Ireland served for 43 years at Acle Medical Centre and was known for having an adventurous streak, completing the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Spain and visiting Nepal eight times.
Having retired from working as a GP in August 2018, Dr Ireland cared for his wife, Ann, until her death in January 2019 following a long battle with illness.
During an inquest into Dr Ireland's death at Norfolk Coroner's Court on Monday, January 27, a statement was read on behalf of his friend, Mike Baker, who witnessed the crash.
Mr Baker said: "On the morning of the accident Dr Ireland was in high spirts ahead of another day of cycling. It was the Sunday before a bank holiday, so there were many groups of cyclists.
"I was trailing the group positioned behind Dr Ireland and it was from this position I saw him moving away from the pathway and into the wall.
"How he achieved such momentum as he hit this wall I don't know, but he was thrown over the handlebars and cartwheeled through the air."
When Mr Baker and another member of the group, Dr Williams, reached the roadside below, Dr Ireland was "deeply unconscious and making no attempt to breathe". Dr Williams administered mouth-to-mouth and cardiac massage, before Dr Ireland was taken to hospital in Amsterdam.
A statement on behalf of Dr Ireland's daughter, Jessica Basey-Fisher, said further treatment was withheld due to the likelihood of paralysis. Speaking in court, Mrs Basey-Fisher added: "I was hoping it could be recommended that a fence is put up to prevent (further accidents)."
Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake reached a conclusion of accidental death due to brain injuries. She pledged to write to Dutch authorities raising concerns about the safety of the wall alongside the cycling path in Overveen.