Man killed by brain abscess 'should have had in-person appointment'

Student, 26, who died of a brain abscess after four remote GP consultations in 19 days should have had an urgent face-to-face appointment, inquest hears

  • David Nash, 26, had a series of remote consultations with doctors and nurses
  • He was rushed to hospital in Leeds and later died after calling NHS 111 five times
  • A inquest heard that Mr Nash should have been seen in person and treated 

A law student who died from a brain abscess after four remote consultations with doctors and nurses should have had an urgent face-to-face appointment after his final contact, a GP expert has told a coroner. 

Musician David Nash, 26, had four phone consultations with a Leeds GP practice over a 19-day period in October and November 2020, an inquest in Wakefield, West Yorkshire heard on Monday. 

The court heard that Mr Nash’s condition deteriorated dramatically after the final consultation on November 2, and he was taken to hospital by ambulance after a series of NHS 111 calls, but died two days later. 

It was later found that he had developed mastoiditis in his ear which caused an abscess on his brain, leading to his death. 

David Nash, 26, was rushed to hospital where he died following four remote consultations 

A inquest heard that medical professionals should have set up a face-to-face consultation with Mr Nash when they heard about his symptoms, which would likely have brought him to hospital sooner 

On Monday, assistant coroner Abigail Combes read a statement from GP expert Alastair Bint, who said a nurse should have organised an urgent in-patient appointment after a 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. 

But the expert concluded that Mr Nash’s consultation with advanced nurse practitioner Lynne White on November 2 should have been cause for a face-to-face appointment which would likely have led to a hospital admission. 

Dr Bint said Mr Nash’s presentation of fever, neck stiffness and night-time headaches were ‘red flags’ and the nurse’s diagnosis of a flu-like virus was ‘not safe’. 

He said: ‘This was a patient that needed to be seen in person.’ 

Dr Bint said it required ‘an urgent face-to-face assessment that morning’. 

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.’ 

In his report, the doctor said he was asked to comment on whether the final outcome would have been different if Mr Nash had been seen face-to-face. 

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

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

Dr Bint’s report stressed that the NHS was dealing with an unprecedented situation at the time, during the Covid pandemic, and that NHS England advice was for GP patients to be seen remotely in most cases. 

The inquest heard that Mr Nash’s first phone consultation with the Burley Park Medical Practice was on October 14, when he told GP Jenny Carrick he had been troubled by lumps on his neck. Dr Carrick arranged for him to have a blood test booked in for November 2. 

His second consultation was with advanced nurse practitioner Amy Linstrum, when he described a painful and hot right ear. 

Ms Linstrum prescribed antibiotic ear drops. The third consultation was on October 28, with locum GP Manjoor Shahid. 

Mr Nash told the doctor he had blood in his urine and he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. 

In her evidence, read to the court, nurse Lynne White said she accepted that when she told Mr Nash on November 2 ‘you’re sounding like you’re feeling a bit sorry for yourself, are you feeling a bit rotten’, it appeared now as if she was being dismissive. 

But she insisted she was simply reflecting that the patient seemed unwell. 

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 earlier. 

They have described how Mr Nash had five ‘shambolic’ calls on November 2 with the NHS 111 system before being taken to St James’s Hospital in Leeds by ambulance, in a confused state, where he fell when he was left alone, causing an injury to his head. 

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. 

His mother read a pen-portrait of her son to the court on Monday. 

She said she was ‘eternally grateful for an amazing 26 years of love and hilarity’. 

Mrs Nash said: ‘Your huge smile, your compassion and your ability to enjoy every moment could never be replicated.’

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