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Man dies following birthday tattoo

PUBLISHED: 09:40 13 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:02 01 August 2010

A 35-YEAR-old died from a blood clot in his lung just days after a new tattoo on his leg became infected, an inquest has heard.

John Chillingworth, of Hillside Road West in Bungay, decided to get a new tattoo on his right calf last year and his girlfriend agreed to pay for it as a birthday present.

A 35-YEAR-old died from a blood clot in his lung just days after a new tattoo on his leg became infected, an inquest has heard.

John Chillingworth, of Hillside Road West in Bungay, decided to get a new tattoo on his right calf last year and his girlfriend agreed to pay for it as a birthday present.

An inquest in Lowestoft yesterday heard that Mr Chillingworth, who was a qualified carpenter, went to Fine Line tattooing in Hungate Lane, Beccles, on December 4 last year to have the black outlines of his chosen tattoo done.

When he got home to Bungay at about 3.30pm, he told his girlfriend that the tattoo was stinging a bit, which he could not remember happening when he had had tattoos done in the past.

Two days later, he said his leg was hurting and was red and puffy. Soon a scab started to form, the skin felt tight and he had trouble sleeping because of the pain.

When he eventually went to see a doctor a week after having the tattoo, he was prescribed painkillers, antihistamine tablets and the wound on his leg was dressed.

Although the scab started to heal again, Mr Chillingworth eventually stopping going out for walks because his leg was painful.

On December 21, his girlfriend found him lying unmoving on the sofa when she came home from work. When paramedics arrived shortly afterwards, he was pronounced dead.

A post mortem examination found that the cause of death was a blood clot in the lung from a deep vein thrombosis in his right calf.

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean said that the tattooist had followed all the necessary hygiene procedures.

He said that it was difficult to say whether the thrombosis was related to the infected tattoo, or to the fact that Mr Chillingworth had become less active because of the pain in his leg.

He said: “Clearly what took place was a tragic complication following a tattoo.” He recorded a narrative verdict of a pulmonary embolism following tattooing.

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