'Life will never be the same' for family of Newport dad who collapsed and died on holiday

David Todd, 34, was on holiday in Greece with his partner three years ago when he suddenly collapsed. Credit: Media Wales

The family of a father-of-one who died after collapsing on holiday said "life will never be the same" after their sudden loss.

David Todd, 34, was on holiday in Kos, Greece, with his partner to celebrate a friend getting married when he collapsed on 7 September 2019.

An inquest at Gwent Coroners' Court heard how the sign maker from Bettws, Newport, had been complaining of increasing heart problems before he passed out on the second day of his holiday. He was taken to hospital in Kos that afternoon but was pronounced dead later that same day.

'The best person you could meet'

A statement from Mr Todd's partner, Natalie Price, was read out at the inquest. In it she described him as "the best person you could meet" and someone who "was loved" and "just wanted everyone to be happy".

She added: "He loved life and was always looking forward to the next thing to do."

Mr Todd's daughter, Grace, was just 10 months old at the time of his death.

The inquest heard Mr Todd had been suffering from worsening heart trouble in the months before he died including chest pain, dizziness, kidney pain, and trouble sleeping. These issues sometimes meant he would jump up at night and so he occasionally slept in another room, in order not to scare anyone.

He had been to the A&E department in Newport on a number of occasions, including in July 2019 - a few months before going on holiday to Greece. He was complaining of chest pain but had no serious health issues and had returned normal results in scans.

A statement read on behalf of Tim Rogerson, consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital, said Mr Todd attended A&E in July 2019 complaining of chest pain. He said an ECG was carried out which returned normal results while Mr Todd also showed normal blood pressure and oxygen levels.

Witness Dr Christopher Samways, a locum GP at Malpas Brook Medical Centre at the time, said he saw Mr Todd in August 2019 – a month after he had attended A&E complaining of chest pain.

Dr Samways said he had not seen Mr Todd before but that his medical records presented no issues in blood pressure, oxygen levels, ECG results, or a chest X-ray. He said there was "no evidence of acute ischemic heart or enlarged heart."Dr Samways said Mr Todd had been diagnosed with atypical chest pain due to the lack of issues found through any tests.

The locum GP told the inquest that despite Mr Todd's father dying from coronary artery disease at the age of 48, it was determined that Mr Todd would not be at any higher risk of cardiovascular disease because of his normal scan results.

The coroner at Gwent Coroners' Court determined that "there were no clear signs which would have predicted [Mr Todd's] death". Credit: Google

Senior coroner Caroline Saunders queried the fact that an ECG carried out on Mr Todd previously indicated occasional ventricular ectopics – a type of abnormal heart rhythm.

When asked if this would have raised any red flags regarding his health, Dr Samways said he "probably wouldn't have read much" into it as he said often patients may have minor heartbeat irregularities but still give normal ECG results presenting no serious problems.

When asked if it might have prompted any further examinations of Mr Todd to look for conditions such as musculoskeletal syndrome Dr Samways conceded it might have been "reasonable" but that he had not done so given that Mr Todd's results had been clear.

The coroner referred to a "disparity" between a post-mortem examination carried out in Greece after Mr Todd's death, which determined he had recent myocardial ischemia and acute pulmonary oedema.

She said this appeared to contradict a more invasive post-mortem examination later carried out by Dr Ian Thompson in Newport, which found no evidence of ischemia and pointed to sudden arrhythmic death syndrome as his likely cause of death.

She said she was minded to favour Dr Thompson's determination that there was no evidence of heart disease that would have caused his death and recorded a medical cause of death as sudden arrhythmic death syndrome.

Ms Saunders described Mr Todd's issues as "undetectable" and said he had suffered an "acute cardiac event" while on holiday. She added: "There were no clear signs which would have predicted his death."

Ms Saunders concluded Mr Todd's death was a result of natural causes.

Mr Todd's partner described him as "the best father" to their daughter Grace.

'The best father and partner you could ask for'

In a tribute to her partner following the hearing, Ms Price said: "Dave was the best type of person you could meet. sensible and hard working. He’d managed to buy his own home."[He was] always joking, trying to make people laugh and entertain everyone. He would do anything for his friends and family.

"[He] has a daughter, Grace, who’s now nearing four but was 10 months at the time and he adored her. He really was the best father and partner you could ask for."He was loved by so many people and will be forever missed by everyone. Life will never be the same without him."