NHS officials ruled the student died after being denied a face-to-face appointment

The law student's family believes he would not have died had he been seen face-to-face by a GP

The law student’s family believes he would not have died had he been seen face-to-face by a GP

A law student has died after being mistakenly denied an in-person GP appointment, the NHS has admitted.

David Nash, 26, from Nantwich in Cheshire, had four phone appointments with GPs and nurses between October and November 2020.

He was denied an in-person consultation, even though he told practice staff that he was suffering from excruciating ear and neck pain and was slurring his words.

Mr. Nash tested negative for Covid the same day he finally had a face-to-face appointment, only for it to be canceled anyway.

Doctors told him to take the test again and prescribed painkillers, in what a GP described as “a dereliction of duty”.

He died of a brain abscess two days after his last contact with his GP. Family members say he was brought on by an ear infection.

An internal NHS England investigation into Mr Nash’s death concluded that “a face-to-face assessment should have been offered or arranged”.

Mr Nash’s parents, who are convinced he would be alive if they saw him in person, spoke about the “appalling care” their son received, accusing the health service of “completely” failing him.

David Nash, 26, (pictured) had four remote consultations with doctors and nurses at a Leeds GP over a 19-day period before he died of a brain abscess on 4 November 2020

David Nash, 26, (pictured) had four remote consultations with doctors and nurses at a Leeds GP over a 19-day period before he died of a brain abscess on 4 November 2020

David Nash, 26, (pictured) had four remote consultations with doctors and nurses at a Leeds GP over a 19-day period before he died of a brain abscess on 4 November 2020

WHAT IS MASTOIDITIS?

Mastoiditis is a serious bacterial infection that affects the mastoid bone behind the ear.

Most people with mastoiditis recover quickly and have no complications as long as the condition is promptly diagnosed and treated.

Its symptoms include redness, tenderness, and pain behind the ear, swelling behind the ear that causes it to protrude and ooze.

Victims may also have a high temperature, headache, and hearing loss.

They are advised to see a GP as soon as possible if they have symptoms or an ear infection that does not improve with treatment.

The infection develops if the mastoid cells become infected or inflamed, often after persistent middle ear infections.

Cholesteatoma can also cause mastoiditis. This is an abnormal buildup of skin cells inside the ear that can prevent the ear from draining properly, leading to infection.

GPs should examine the inside of the ear and refer the patient to an ear, nose, and throat specialist for further diagnostic tests for mastoiditis.

This usually includes a blood test and a discharge test from the ear to check for a bacterial infection.

Mastoiditis must be promptly diagnosed and treated with antibiotics.

Surgery may be required in severe cases to drain the middle ear or remove part of the mastoid bone.

Although most people with mastoiditis do not experience serious complications, treatment is not always easy, and the infection can recur.

If the mastoid bone is severely infected and is not removed, it can cause hearing loss and life-threatening health complications such as a blood clot, meningitis, and a brain abscess.

Font: National Health Service

Nash had been in contact with his surgery four times between October 14 and November 2, 2020.

Recordings of his four calls were obtained by BBC Newsnight and will be broadcast tonight, with the permission of his family.

They reveal that he was due to be seen at his surgery for a blood test on the day of his fourth and final call to his GP.

Nash, who was studying law at the University of Leeds, spoke of debilitating neck pain and slurred his words.

He told a nurse, “Almost every time my heart beats, I have these pains.”

Mr Nash had tested negative for the coronavirus in a gold standard PCR test, which was being carried out by some 600,000 people in England at the time.

But the nurse canceled her appointment for later that day and asked her to get tested again before going into surgery.

Codeine was prescribed for neck pain.

That same day, after five calls to NHS 111, Mr Nash was taken to hospital by ambulance.

He died at Leeds General Infirmary on November 4 from a brain abscess, his family say. Relatives said last year that he, too, had meningitis at the time of this death.

The NHS, which launched an investigation into his death, found that “the overall benefit was less than the risk of going ahead with blood tests.”

According to a finding seen by Newsnight, he said: “A face-to-face evaluation should have been offered or arranged to confirm the diagnosis and initiate definitive treatment.”

Relatives said doctors failed to detect that he had developed mastoiditis, a serious bacterial infection of the mastoid bone behind the ear that is usually treated with antibiotics.

Most patients recover quickly and have no complications as long as the condition is quickly diagnosed and treated.

However, if the bone is severely infected and is not removed, it can cause life-threatening complications, such as brain abscess and meningitis.

Parents Andrew and Anne suspect that the mastoiditis could have been detected and treated with antibiotics if their son had had a personal exam on his first date last year.

His parents said they left him alone at A&E despite being in a confused and serious condition, and he fell, suffering a head injury.

Airline pilot Andrew said: “What we know now is that a couple of days earlier, he most likely started developing a brain abscess caused by his ongoing ear infection.”

“Two and a half hours after that call, David took a selfie to send to a friend.

‘I don’t have any formal medical training other than first aid. But if I had to identify a photo of someone who was dying…

And her mother said, ‘It’s been terrible care. I think they have completely let David down.

“I am absolutely convinced, as David’s mother, that if he had been seen at that last consultation, he would still be with us today.”

Parents Andrew and Anne suspect that the mastoiditis could have been detected and treated with antibiotics if their son had had a personal exam on his first date last year.

Parents Andrew and Anne suspect that the mastoiditis could have been detected and treated with antibiotics if their son had had a personal exam on his first date last year.

Parents Andrew and Anne suspect that the mastoiditis could have been detected and treated with antibiotics if their son had had a personal exam on his first date last year.

An inquest into Nash’s death is scheduled for early 2023. It is expected to delve into what his family says are significant flaws after he was admitted to hospital.

An independent GP, who was shown documents about Mr Nash’s case, said there were “a number of times when David should have been checked face-to-face”.

Dr SL Brown, a GP since 1984, said he could not determine whether Mr Nash would have lived if he had been seen earlier.

However, he called the decision to prescribe painkillers when he was so messed up “a dereliction of duty.”

Professor Martin Marshall, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: ‘We know bad things have happened.

‘We know that mistakes have been made. And that is desperately sad when that has happened.

He pointed to the crisis for GPs, with six in 10 doctors warning that their mental health has deteriorated in the last 12 months.

An increasing number of workers are cutting back on their working days, increasing pressure on the service, Prof Marshall warned.

“So now we are in a situation where the service is not stable and it is unsustainable. This can’t go on like this,’ she added.

In a statement, the GP where Mr Nash was treated said: “We would like to again extend our condolences to Mr Nash’s family, and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”

“It would not be appropriate to comment further as the investigation is ongoing.”

NHS England for Yorkshire and the Humber said it had “investigated the family’s complaint about their son’s treatment in primary care and provided them with a response”.

The full report airs on BBC Two’s Newsnight at 10:30pm tonight.

.