A neurosurgeon who investigated the death of Leeds student David Nash has said he probably would have survived if he had been told to go to hospital sooner, an inquest has heard.
Simon Howarth conducted the inquiry into the death of the 26-year-old musician and law student David Nash. He was taken to hospital following four phone consultations with a Leeds GP practice over a 19-day-period in October and November 2020 followed by five phone calls to NHS 111.
A coroner in Wakefield heard a GP expert conclude that the advanced nurse practitioner from the Burley Park Medical Practice, in Leeds, who spoke to Mr Nash on November 2, should have ordered an urgent face-to-face appointment. It is likely this would have led to a hospital admission ten hours earlier than when he was admitted in reality.
In the phone call on November 2, the nurse told him "you sound like you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself", reports the Manchester Evening News. The court heard how Mr Nash and his partner also made the five phone calls to NHS 111 throughout November 2 as his condition deteriorated. He was eventually taken to St James' Hospital by ambulance.
He was then transferred to Leeds General Infirmary for neurosurgery but he could not be saved. James Nash died on November 4.
Mr Nash had developed mastoiditis in his ear which caused an abscess on his brain, leading to his death, the inquest has heard. On Wednesday, Mr Howarth’s report was read in court which said: "On the balance of probabilities, had this intervention been 10 hours previously, his death would probably have been avoided."
Earlier this week, Assistant Coroner Abigail Combe read a statement from GP expert Alastair Bint, who said a nurse should have organised an urgent in-patient appointment after the fourth phone consultation on November 2, 2020. Dr Bint said he did not criticise the remote nature of Mr Nash’s first three consultations on October 14, 23 and 28.
However, he said his symptoms of fever, neck stiffness and night-time headaches on November 2, were "red flags" and the nurse’s diagnosis of a flu-like virus was "not safe".
Mr Nash’s parents, Andrew and Anne Nash, from Nantwich, Cheshire, have campaigned to find out whether the mastoiditis he had developed would have been identified and easily treated with antibiotics if their son had undergone a face-to-face examination earlier.
The inquest has also heard that Mr Nash fell while left unattended in a confused state during his time in the emergency department at St James’s and cut his head. In his report, Mr Haworth concluded that this had “no clinical significance” in terms of the outcome.
Mr Nash 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.
The inquest is expected to conclude on Friday.