Fundraising for Baldock dad-of-four who had major stroke after migraine diagnosis

David Cornish, left, with his partner Rebecca and four children. Picture: Rebecca Louise Nelson

David Cornish, left, with his partner Rebecca and four children. Picture: Rebecca Louise Nelson - Credit: Archant

A Baldock dad-of-four could never walk again after being diagnosed with migraines and then having a major stroke – and his family are now raising money to help.

David Cornish, 34, was on holiday with his family in Skegness on July 23 when he collapsed while driving – with staff at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston identifying the cause afterwards as migraines.

Four days later, after coming home, he went to rest in bed with a bad headache before his children found him unable to move or speak properly.

David had a major stroke at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital that evening, after which it was found he had a blood clot on the brain stem.

After urgent surgery at Charing Cross Hospital in London to unblock the clot, the long road towards recovery has begun for David, who restores cars for a living – and this weekend, with the aid of two people, he stood again for the first time.


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A crowdfunding page has been launched by David’s sister Claire to help the family get to and from the hospital and to support his care once he gets home, and £1,830 has been raised so far.

David’s partner Rebecca Nelson, with whom he has children aged 11, seven, five and two, has now spoken to the Comet about the ordeal – which saw David put into an induced coma.

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David, who doctors said might not walk or speak again, is defying the odds with the help of sign language and a speaking valve on his tracheotomy tube.

But Rebecca, 31, is angry that the clot on his brain stem was not identified sooner.

She said: “They were certain his collapse on holiday wasn’t a stroke, just because of his age – 34 is very young for this – and it was the same when he had it after we got home.

“Because he was left for so long he’s got quite serious brain damage now, and there’s not much they can do about it. If they’d treated him earlier, it might not have been so bad.

“Recovery is a very slow progress. This is our issue now – it’s just waiting for the body to repair itself. He came out of the coma on August 21, and he’s awake again now. It’s difficult for him to talk or swallow.

“He’s doing better than expected, but it’s still a long road – 18 months before he can get to a rehabilitation centre. It’s a massive struggle.”

David is still at Charing Cross Hospital, necessitating a journey of up to an hour and 40 minutes daily for family from Baldock to see him.

Rebecca told the Comet that she and the rest of the family were seeking legal advice ahead of a formal complaint about how David’s symptoms were treated by paramedics and hospital staff.

A spokesman for the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs the Lister, said: “When Mr Cornish presented to the Lister’s emergency department on the evening of Thursday, July 27, the medical team suspected that he had suffered a stroke and his condition was investigated in line with national guidance for such cases.

“He underwent two CT scans, the second of which led to the detection of the cause – a blood clot in the brain.

“This allowed the Trust’s stroke team to liaise with their colleagues at Charing Cross Hospital in central London so that Mr Cornish could undergo the highly specialist treatment he needed – called a thrombectomy. In total, Mr Cornish was at the Lister for less than 18 hours prior to his transfer to Charing Cross.

“We understand that this is a very difficult time for his family, but should they wish to make contact with us to discuss any concerns that they may have about his care while at the Lister, then we would welcome them getting in touch.”

Simon Evans, director of operations at Pilgrim Hospital’s parent body the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have looked into the case of Mr Cornish and believe that we acted appropriately, according to clinical protocol, in this case.”

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust spokeswoman added: “We can confirm that we attended the patient on July 27 in Baldock following a call to us from NHS 111. A senior paramedic in a rapid response vehicle was sent to help.

“At this time we have not been contacted by the patient’s family with their concerns and urge them to get in touch with us so that we can fully investigate this matter.”

If you’d like to donate money to support David’s family, see justgiving.com/crowdfunding/david-cornish.

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