London

Islington baby died despite doctor visits, inquest hears

A mother has told an inquest how her baby died from pneumonia despite her consulting doctors on three occasions in the run-up to her son's death.

Linda Peanberg King, of Islington, north London, told St Pancras Coroner's Court she went to her GP once and the private Harmoni centre twice, after seven-week-old Axel fell ill.

At first the child was diagnosed with a mere viral infection.

He eventually died of bronchopneumonia at the Whittington Hospital.

In total, Axel's family had contacted medical professionals three times over four days before the baby's condition worsened and he suffered a suspected cardiac arrest, last November.

'Very abrupt'

Dr Giles Armstrong, a consultant paediatrician who battled in vain to save Axel at the Whittington Hospital, said of his illness: "The sooner you detect it, the better your chances of survival."

During the hearing, Dr Muttu Shantikumar of the Harmoni centre said he set the baby's appointment as "routine" and the one he arranged was the earliest available.

He did not regard the case as urgent from the information he had.

But Mrs Peanberg King described his demeanour as "very abrupt and very short".

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe suggested to Dr Shantikumar that the information he gathered over a minute telephone call was not very detailed and he agreed.

She told him: "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 until Thursday morning.

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