1. ITV Report

Baby inquest verdict expected later

Seven-week-old Axel Peanberg King died from pneumonia. Photo: Family Handout.

A narrative verdict is expected later from the coroner at St Pancras Coroner's Court into the death of seven-week-old Axel Peanberg King, who died of pneumonia at the Homerton hospital in November last year.

Axel, a fit, totally breastfed boy developed a cold on October 31st 2012. His mother Linda took him to her GP.

On November 1st he was no better, so she called the NHS private out-of-hours contractor "Harmoni" who gave him an urgent appointment. He was seen by a Dr Takhar who, after an 18 minute consultation, said there was no cause for alarm but would give Linda antibiotics to give to Axel if he got worse. Harmoni took over the contract from Camidocs, the failed private out of hours service disgraced after the death of a woman journalist from multiple organ failure.

On the 2nd Axel remained quite sick, but Linda was reassured by Dr Takhar's words and decided to keep Axel at home.

By the 3rd (a Saturday) Axel was much worse and the parents called "Harmoni" again. After a one minute phone conversation with a Dr Shantikumar the baby was downgraded from urgent to routine and given an appointment four hours later at the Harmoni clinic in the Homerton hospital.

Distressed by Axel's lack of response, Linda arrived early at the clinic where she waited in a queue of six people. An off-duty nurse saw Axel and grabbed him and ran into A and E. Huge efforts were made to ressussitate the baby but he died of pneumonia. The paediatric consultant who tried to revive him said the pneumonia had developed in the last 24/48 hours.