Tragic baby dies despite repeated visits to out-of-hours Harmoni GP service

18:31 26 February 2013

Baby Axel Peanburg King died after being seen several times by out-of-hours GP service, Harmoni. Picture: PA

Baby Axel Peanburg King died after being seen several times by out-of-hours GP service, Harmoni. Picture: PA

Archant

A seven-week old baby died of pneumonia despite his mother being told by under-fire GP service Harmoni his vital signs were good, an inquest has heard.

Baby Axel Peanberg King stopped breathing while waiting to see a doctor at the Whittington Hospital in Highgate, but a Harmoni receptionist told his mum to wait her turn - until an off duty nurse spotted the danger the baby was in.

GPs from the privately-run out-of-hours GP service then battled to save baby Axel’s life, but it was too late.

Fighting back tears at St Pancras Coroner’s Court on Monday (February 25), Axel’s mum, Linda Peanberg King, said: “It was a tense situation, doctors were almost fighting among themselves to get everything done.

“When a doctor came to see me in the relatives’ room, I knew the battle had been lost.”

Axel’s mother took him to see the family doctor after he fell ill in October last year, who diagnosed a probable viral infection.

But the baby had not improved by the next evening so his mother contacted out-of-hours service Harmoni and Axel was seen by a doctor who said his vitals signs were good and his lungs were clear.

His mother said: “On the Friday, I had allowed myself to be reassured, but my gut feeling was taking over.”

She and her husband, Alistair, then called Harmoni the following day.

When Dr Muttu Shantikumar called them back he was “very abrupt and very short” as he made an appointment for Axel for 4pm, the inquest was told.

Mrs Peanberg King, who lives in Islington, said: “I arrived at the Harmoni unit at 3.50pm but had to stand in a queue and was told they were busy. There were six people in front of Axel.

“I could not see his chest move, so I pinched his foot but did not get a reaction.

“I asked the receptionist when he would be seen, becoming tearful.

“She explained there were still three people in front of me, so I sat down again.

“An off-duty paediatric nurse was looking at him. She said, ‘You need to go through straight away’.”

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said to Dr Shantikumar: “If you are going to take on a task as responsible as triaging a seven-week-old baby, you have to do it responsibly.”

The inquest was adjourned and will be continued on Thursday (February 28).

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Ello is the new social network on everyone’s lips, but the question is, why?

Read more

Here are some tips from an expert on how to create the tricky Middle Eastern dessert.

Read more

The man in the moon may have been caused by a long plume of magma deep inside the moon coming to the surface.

Read more

Promotions

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

Dojo gives you hand picked recommendations for events, places and activities in London

Tired of always hearing about some amazing event in London after its gone, missing out on the best activities? That’s where Dojo comes in.

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Ello is the new social network on everyone’s lips, but the question is, why?

A step-by-step guide to getting reimbursed by TFL if you’re delayed on the trains or Tube.

David Cameron says William Hague is the greatest living Yorkshireman. We respectfully disagree.

The teenager is thought to have met up with a 17-year-old girl from London amid fears they have been radicalised.

TOP Stories

Police say a body found last night is that of Alice Gross

Police have tonight confirmed a body found in the River Brent yesterday is that of missing 14-year-old Alice Gross from Hanwell.

14:06
The man filmed himself raping his wife on her mobile phone

A man who repeatedly raped his wife and filmed it on her mobile phone has been jailed for 13 years.

The cyclist was in a collision with a National Express coach in Oxford Street this morning (Picture: Twitter/@davenoisome)

A female cyclist was rushed to hospital with leg injuries after being involved in a collision with a coach in Oxford Street this morning.

London Bloggers

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit:

Monday, September 1, 2014
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Don't waste any of your harvest

If you are now inundated with ripe tomatoes, juicy green beans, berries and herbs, don’t leave them to go stringy or mouldy because the freezer can go a long way to making your crops last well into winter.