A law student who died from meningitis ‘would still be alive’ if he’d had a face-to-face appointment with a GP, his family believe.

Clinicians missed signs that David Nash, 26, had developed mastoiditis in his ear during four remote consultations held during the pandemic last year.

The condition can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early but instead David developed a brain abscess and then meningitis. He died on November 4, 2020.

His parents, Andrew and Anne, believe several opportunities were missed to save their son’s life.

The ‘caring, charismatic and funny’ mature student and musician ended up in A&E when his condition ‘deteriorated dramatically’ on November 2.

Some 19 days earlier, he’d sought help from his GP at Burley Park Medical Centre in Leeds but doctors weren’t at the time seeing patients face-to-face.

As his symptoms, including a high fever, got worse he repeatedly sought help, but all consultations were done remotely and he never received a clear diagnosis.

He and his partner, Ellie, then had five ‘shambolic’ calls with the NHS 111 system – including one which categorised his condition as ‘dental’ – before he was taken to St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, by ambulance.

Once at the Emergency Department, David’s parents said, he was left alone, despite being in a confused and serious state, and fell, causing an injury to his head.

Airline pilot Andrew Nash, 56, said: ‘The mastoiditis is readily treatable with modern antibiotics and it should never have been left to get to the stage where it caused the complication of a brain abscess.

‘He should never had gone to A&E in that condition. It is something that should have been sorted out way before then and, having approached his GP practice on four occasions, not to see him I think is the primary reason that they failed to recognise his condition and treat it.’

Andrew and Anne are paying thousands of pounds for an independent neurosurgeon to investigate how their son died and are hoping an inquest starting in Wakefield on November 30 will provide answers.

They are campaigning for GPs to start seeing more patients in person again to prevent families having to go through something similar.

Mr Nash said: ‘How do you diagnose an ear infection, what type of ear infection it is without actually looking in the ear?’

‘I would argue that any of the symptoms he exhibited, that would have required an examination of the ear, would have revealed the true extent of his chronic middle ear disease and his mastoiditis which, in effect, was ground zero for the complication he developed.’

David was just starting the second year of a law degree at Leeds University and his parents said he was passionate about working for social justice and human rights causes.

He went to university after a number of years enjoying life as a drummer in Leeds’s music scene where he was central and popular figure, touring Europe with his band, Weirds, and recording an album.

His father said: ‘David was caring, charismatic, and funny, managing to find humour in almost everything, however mundane. He had so many friends. They so miss him.

‘Two of them had him lined up to be their best man. He was so funny. He was 6ft 7 inches tall so when he walked into the room you noticed him.’

Mr Nash said: ‘He was very principled, which is why I feel he was so let down because always looked after everyone else and, in his time of need, it would have been nice if people had been looking out for him.’

His mother said: ‘He was a very well loved and liked. I think this is because he was fair and honest. He had a compassionate serious side but he was a very funny guy. He entertained us all.’

Both the GP practice and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs St James’s Hospital, said they were unable to comment ahead of the inquest.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

For more stories like this, check our news page.