THE parents of a 20-year- old charity worker who died after medics failed to identify just how ill he was are considering legal action against the NHS.

It comes after a coroner yesterday highlighted failures into Gary Lovett’s care and said medical professionals acted “far too late”.

Gary, who lived in Lordswood, Southampton, died from pneumonia within hours of being rushed to hospital – despite his parents Rob and Tracy having sought advice from NHS services for days.

Last night they said Gary could have been saved if they had ignored advice and taken their son to hospital – just five minutes from their home.

They said: “No parents should have to outlive their child in such circumstances. We feel sure that had Gary been given the opportunity he would have continued to make us all proud of him.

“Now the inquest is over we want to try to ensure that similar medical mistakes are never made again to stop someone else dying in circumstances like this.”

The family solicitor, Patricia Wakeford, last night told the Daily Echo Gary’s parents were considering legal action against the NHS.

The inquest into the former Mansbridge and Cantell pupil heard how Rob and Tracy battled to get medical help for Gary from three NHS agencies as his condition deteriorated.

Contact was made in the lead-up to Christmas 2010 with a GP, NHS Direct and Solent Healthcare out-of-hours service when Gary suffered symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, coughing and chest pains.

Solent Healthcare’s out-of-hours service did arrange a face-to-face appointment but despite going to the appointment in a wheelchair, he was not given emergency care.

Although he was eventually admitted to Southampton General Hospital, he died within hours.

Earlier in the inquest, NHS Direct’s nursing boss Stuart Toulson spoke frankly and admitted failings by his team – which led to one nurse being sacked and being referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Andrew Lennon, who represented the out-of-hours service, adamantly denied any wrongdoing.

Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman said: “What is self-evident is that Gary did have a far more serious illness developing than was ever actually identified until it was far too late, when of course he was eventually admitted to hospital only an hour or two prior to his death.”

Recording a narrative verdict, he said: “Gary Lovett died as a result of severe and overwhelming bronchopneumonia.

“It is likely that he was suffering from at least the early stages of this condition during the few days prior to his death during which time there was both telephonic and face-to-face assessment of his illness by a number of medical professionals who failed to identify the extent of his illness and the risk it presented to his life.”