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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
James Liddell

Man told 'you sound like you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself' by NHS 111 before dying

A law student who died after a string of remote telephone appointments with doctors and nurses needed to urgently have a face-to-face consultation, a GP expert has told a coroner.

David Nash, 26, had four over-the-phone consultations with a healthcare staff at a Leeds GP practice over a 19 day period in October and November 2020, an inquest heard on Monday.

Mr Nash's condition rapidly declined after his last consultation on November 2.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance after a number of calls to NHS 111, but died two days later, the court in West Yorkshire heard.

It was later found that his death was caused by a serious bacterial infection, mastoiditis, in his ear which caused an abscess on his brain.

Abigail Combes, assistant coroner, read a statement from GP expert Alastair Bint on Monday.

Dr Bint had told the hearing in Wakefield that a nurse should have organised an urgent in-patient appointment after Mr Nash’s fourth phone consultation.

The 26-year-old was a keen musician and studying a law degree at Leeds University (PA)
David Nash's death was caused by caused by mastoiditis, a serious bacterial infection in the ear (PA)

However, he did not criticise the remote nature of Mr Nash's first three consultations.

A face-to-face appointment with Lynne White, an advanced nurse practitioner, could have led to live-saving hospital admission, he concluded.

In her evidence read to the court, Lynne White told Mr Nash: “You're sounding like you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself, are you feeling a bit rotten.”

She insisted that she was simply reflecting that the patient seemed unwell, and wasn’t simply being dismissive.

Fever, neck stiffness and night-time headaches which Mr Bint presented were "red flags" and the nurse's diagnosis of a flu-like virus was "not safe".

Dr Bint said: "This was a patient that needed to be seen in person."

He added: "This was a patient demonstrating some significant red flags and needed to be seen.

"Had he been seen in-person, it seems likely to me he would've been admitted to hospital."

Andrew and Anne Nash describe their son's 'shambolic' calls with NHS 111 (PA)

Dr Bint's report stressed that the NHS was dealing with an unprecedented situation due to the Covid pandemic.

He noted that Mr Nash would have been in hospital 10 hours earlier but it was for a neurosurgical expert to comment on whether his outcome would have been different.

NHS England gave advice for GP patients to be seen remotely in most cases.

Mr Nash's parents, Andrew and Anne Nash, from Nantwich, Cheshire, described how their son had five "shambolic" calls on November 2 with the NHS 111 system before being taken to St James's Hospital in Leeds by ambulance.

They have campaigned to find out whether the mastoiditis would have been identified and easily treated with antibiotics if their son had undergone a face-to-face examination earlier.

Mr Nash died on November 4 2020, despite efforts to save him by neurosurgeons at Leeds General Infirmary.

He had just started the second year of a law degree at Leeds University when he died after a number of years as a drummer on Leeds's music scene, touring Europe with his band Weirds and recording an album.

Mrs Nash read a pen-portrait of her son to the court on Monday, and said that she was "eternally grateful for an amazing 26 years of love and hilarity".

She added: "Your huge smile, your compassion and your ability to enjoy every moment could never be replicated."

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