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

The world seems to agree: no matter how tasteless this new film, censoring freedom of speech with cyber threats is probably worse.

Read more

We asked celebrities to recount their memories of appearing in their school Nativity play.

Read more

Seven people have also been injured in the crash which has been declared a “major incident”.

Read more

Promoted content

We've got a great selection of Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers for under a tenner...  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Office Secret Santa: it’s a Christmas ritual that everyone dreads, but no-one wants to seem like a Scrooge by saying no. Never fear, London24 is here to make buying gifts for Dave in Accounts simple and stress-free, with a selection of presents for under a tenner

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

The world seems to agree: no matter how tasteless this new film, censoring freedom of speech with cyber threats is probably worse.

Seven people have also been injured in the crash which has been declared a “major incident”.

The service was inundated with offers of help, but has said its supplies are “adequate”.

“They were more than just police officers – they were a son, they were a husband, and they were a dad.”

TOP Stories

50 minutes ago
Pensioner Geoffrey Lederman ploughed into mother Desreen Brooks at 54mph(Google Street View)

An 85-year-old from Maida Vale who ploughed his car into a mother at 54mph, killing her in front of her husband and toddler has been jailed for 18 months.

15:01
Jason Oparaocha has been jailed for nine months

A Harlesden man who attacked two city workers when one of them tried to chat up his friend will spend Christmas in jail.

Officers would like to speak to this man (Pic credit: Brent Police)

Police have released the image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a pub fight in Neasden which has left a peacemaker in a coma.

London Bloggers

Around 25 per cent of the population self-identity as having no religion yet still enjoy the fun of Christmas (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

It’s Christmas time. We know this by the light-adorned streets, the mobility hazard posed by boxes of Quality Street, Roses and Celebrations in every supermarket’s entrance and, of course, the incessant radio-plays of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
The main room at the Museum of Comedy (Pic: Steve Ullathorne)

This week I visited the Museum of Comedy located at the corner of Museum Street and Bloomsbury Way in the crypt under St George’s Church.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
Bird Lovegod

I genuinely and honestly have only a slight problem when it comes to buying domain names.