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

Lily Allen has explained why she decided against being part of Band Aid 30 alongside Bob Geldof.

Read more

Made In Chelsea’s Cheska Hull has come clean about her struggle with depression.

Read more

Nicole Kidman has said at the premiere of Paddington that she loves playing the villain of the film.

Read more

Promotions

Gamucci is a global leader and premier brand of electronic cigarettes

Gamucci has an electronic cigarette tailored for every need! We have a range of both disposable and rechargeable electronic cigarettes suitable for all adult smokers. And for a limited time we’re offering up to 40% off.

Paddington

With Christmas comes a host of movies to the big screen, from festive family comedies to action blockbusters. Here is our pick of the best out next month.

The new legislation is being backed up by an anti-terrorism awareness drive by police forces nationwide.

More than 170,000 tweets have been posted in the last three days using the hashtag #CameronMustGo.

Computer firm Symantec discover malware so sophisticated, they say it suggests government involvement.

The tragic police shooting of a boy in Cleveland prompts state legislators in Ohio to consider new laws for replica guns.

TOP Stories

42 minutes ago
(Photographs by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images and Peter Gordon )

Two weeks ago, we reported on Tower Bridge’s dazzling new glass walkway, which allows visitors to look down onto the river and road below. It’s already been smashed.

Arsenal said the fan was removed from the Emirates Stadium after throwing the wine (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Usually when people say ‘claret was spilled’ at a football match it refers to a fight of some kind - but at Arsenal matches it appears to be literally the case.

Elizabeth Crockett, left,  in happier times. Her accident has left her traumatised and with multiple injuries [Photograph courtesy of Irwin Mitchell]

A woman who is lucky to be alive after she was hit by a lorry and dragged underneath it has asked witnesses to come forward to help her “battle for justice”.

London Bloggers

Friday, November 14, 2014
Bird says back up your data

What happened after a friend of mine lost basically everything he’d created in the last 5 years:

Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Appilepsy team: Phil Efstathiou, Alex Telek , Clarence Ji, Miklos Molnar, Joran van Apeldoorn

In Tech City, things move fast. And sometimes erratically. Like phones in the pockets of people having epileptic seizures.

Friday, October 24, 2014
The 91-year-old gave the cyclist a wallop

After Baroness Sharples bragged about walloping a cyclist, London24’s cycling blogger AViewOfLondon has this to say...