Athlete's baby was killed by infection

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The Independent Online
A CORONER recorded a verdict of death by natural causes yesterday on the baby daughter of Judy Simpson, a former Olympic athlete and Gladiators television star.

Joan Simpson, an only child, died on 30 December last year from pneumococcal meningitis - described by a doctor at her inquest in Exmouth as an "aggressive and wicked infection". Mrs Simpson and her husband, Robin, from Birmingham, were spending Christmas with family in Cockwood, Devon.

The coroner, Richard Van Oppen, heard how Joan, eight months, was seen twice at Birmingham hospital before coming to Devon and had been given an antibiotic for an ear infection. The antibiotic was stopped because it caused a rash. Once the family had arrived in Devon, the child was seen by two GPs before being admitted to the intensive care unit at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital, suffering from a disease of the central nervous system consistent with meningitis, which had passed the treatable stage.

After the hearing, Mr and Mrs Simpson said they were "very aggrieved" at how the medical establishment dealt with their child.