Family of student who died after remote GP meetings hopes for answers at inquest

The parents of a law student who died after a series of remote consultations with doctors and nurses say they hope an inquest will raise awareness of the need for GP practices to see patients face to face.

Musician David Nash, 26, had four phone consultations with a Leeds GP practice over a 19-day period, but none of the clinicians spotted that he had developed mastoiditis in his ear, which caused a brain abscess, sparking meningitis, his family have said.

Mr Nash’s parents, Andrew and Anne Nash, from Nantwich, Cheshire, 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 at his first appointment at the Burley Park Medical Centre on October 14, 2020, or during the subsequent phone consultations.

They have described how Mr Nash later had five “shambolic” calls with the NHS 111 system, after he deteriorated dramatically, before being taken to St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, by ambulance.

David Nash death
David Nash died after four remote consultations with doctors and nurses at his GP practice (Family handout/PA)

Once at the emergency department, they said, he was left alone, despite being in a confused and serious state, and fell, causing an injury to his head.

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

An inquest into Mr Nash’s death, starting on Monday in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is due to examine the contacts he had with the GP practice, as well his contacts with the NHS 111 service and his treatment at hospital.

Family solicitor Iain Oliver, partner at Ison Harrison, said: “David’s family would like the inquest into his tragic death to raise awareness of various issues, including the need for GP practices to see patients face to face to enable proper assessment of conditions to be made that will be missed during a telephone consultation.

“They would also like to highlight the need for continuity of care within GP practices, to ensure that the patient is considered holistically, particularly where there are repeated consultations for a developing condition that may be identified by such an approach.

David Nash death
Anne and Andrew Nash have questioned whether their son, David, would have had life-saving treatment if he had seen a doctor face to face (Richard McCarthy/PA)

“Additionally, the family wishes to highlight the limitations of the NHS 111 algorithms.”

David’s family have described how he was just starting the second year of a law degree at Leeds University when he died and he was passionate about working for social justice and human rights.

He went to university after a number of years as a drummer in Leeds’s music scene, touring Europe with his band, Weirds, and recording an album.

His airline pilot father described him as “caring, charismatic and funny, managing to find humour in almost everything, however mundane”.