Bri­tain’s Ashya King put hos­pi­tal in an ‘im­pos­si­ble po­si­tion’: doc­tor

The China Post - - LIFE -

The case of Ashya King, whose par­ents re­moved him from a Bri­tish hos­pi­tal, put the health ser­vice in an “im­pos­si­ble po­si­tion,” one of his doc­tors has said in com­ments re­leased Fri­day.

King’s par­ents sparked an in­ter­na­tional man­hunt when they re­moved the 5-year-old, who had a brain tu­mor, to take him to Prague to be treated with pro­ton beam ther­apy, rather than the ra­dio­ther­apy Bri­tish doc­tors had pre­scribed.

A lawyer for the fam­ily said last month King had been cured, af­ter Bri­tain’s Na­tional Health Ser­vice (NHS) agreed to pay for the treat­ment in an un­prece­dented move that fol­lowed an out­pour­ing of anger to­ward the hos­pi­tal.

Peter Wil­son, pe­di­atric in­ten­sive care con­sul­tant at Southamp­ton Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal where King was be­ing treated, told broad­caster the BBC “It does put clin­i­cians in an im­pos­si­ble po­si­tion.”

“We now have to try to ex­plain to fam­i­lies why one child ... is get­ting a form of treat­ment, why they can’t and they’ve got the same tu­mor.”

“That’s deeply un­fair when the NHS is sup­posed to be about equal health care for all.”

Staff at the Southamp­ton Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal told the BBC that King’s par­ents had put their son in dan­ger by re­mov­ing him and that the de­ci­sion to call the po­lice had been cor­rect.

“The dan­gers to Ashya would be that the feed go­ing into his stom­ach could go into his lungs and that could have very se­ri­ous con­se­quences ... He could die ... It just seemed ... so un­safe,” said Sis­ter Mandy Frisby, who cared for the boy.

Brett and Naghe­meh King were de­tained on an in­ter­na­tional ar­rest war­rant last year, af­ter Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties sus­pected they were not act­ing in Ashya’s best in­ter­ests.

Af­ter the cou­ple spent four days in a Span­ish jail while their son was kept in a Span­ish hos­pi­tal, a Bri­tish court ruled they should be re­united with their son, and the fam­ily trav­eled to Prague.

The King fam­ily pub­lished YouTube videos de­fend­ing their ac­tions through­out the or­deal, which cap­tured in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion.

“Through the use of me­dia, through YouTube, they were show­ing a child who was be­ing fed but no­body knew that they didn’t know how to feed him,” nurs­ing staff mem­ber Kate Pye told the BBC.

“We were re­ally glad he was safe, but ac­tu­ally, fun­da­men­tally, they put him at huge risk. And if you asked me again, ‘Would I phone the po­lice?’ the an­swer would be yes ev­ery time.”

Wil­son said that an­gry phone calls to the hos­pi­tal had over­loaded its switch­board and that callers had left “vit­ri­olic mes­sages.”

“The over­whelm­ing sen­ti­ment was one of just an ab­so­lute out­pour­ing of ha­tred,” Wil­son said. “One of the let­ters said they wished my chil­dren got can­cer and died.”

Sup­port­ers of pro­ton beam ther­apy say it is more pre­cise than con­ven­tional ra­dio­ther­apy and tar­gets only ma­lig­nant cells, although sci­en­tific opin­ion is di­vided on whether it im­proves sur­vival rates.

AP

Iva Ta­tounova, direc­tor of strat­egy at the Pro­ton Ther­apy Clinic, an­swers ques­tions in a pro­ton ther­apy treat­ment room where 5-year-old Ashya King was treated in Prague, Czech Repub­lic, Mon­day, March 23.

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