The Ashya King case

This story has occupied much of my time these last few days and I even joined the Facebook “Justice for Ashya” group.

Of course, it’s not easy to learn the facts as an outsider but thousands of people saw a grave miscarriage of justice when the parents of this sick child were arrested and put in jail several hundred miles away from the hospital where their son was taken -under police guard – and, at first, denied visits from his siblings.

How inhumane is that? What led the Spanish Police to come down so heavily on this unfortunate family?

The British Police had issued a European Arrest Warrant which should normally only be use in extreme circumstances such as terrorism. No wonder the Spanish thought they were dealing with hardened criminels and it looks as though that’s how they were treated.

So why did the British Police act in this manner? Well, it may have been a bit OTT but in my opinion (shared by a large number of others)  the doctors at Southampton General overstated their case when (after 6 hours!) they realised that Ashya had gone missing. They must have known his parents well enough to be sure that they wouldn’t do anything to harm their son: they may even have been aware that the family understood and could manage his feeding, and yet they set off a hue and cry for a boy whose life was in imminent danger and whose neglectful parents had whisked him away.from the care he urgently needed. (Since their release Mr King says he told the hospital they intended to go to Spain)

The family, blissfully unaware of all this were on their way to Spain to sell their house to fund Proton beam treatment for Ashya. Hardly the actions of uncaring parents!

As soon as they saw their pictures on TV and in newspapers they put up a video  on Youtube saying Ashya was fine. They had bought plenty of food online and had the means of charging his feeding apparatus batteries. In fact, he seemed happier than he had been in hospital. The dad asked that ‘this ridiculous chase’ could be called off.

Maybe it was too late  or maybe no-one would have tried to put a stop to it but they were recognised and arrested.

What a nightmare for the parents of a five year old boy with stage 4 cancer to be dragged away from their son. How terrible for the little boy to be taken to a foreign hospital where even his brothers and sisters were not allowed to see him immediately.

By now, a petition  with over 100,000 signatures had been presented at Downing street and the hospital had put out a damage limitation statement. They were sorry that communication had broken down and that the Kings had lost trust in their consultant. But they did NOT say sorry about the nightmare they had inflicted on this family.

One can only imagine the reasons behind the consultant’s actions but I believe Mr King when he says that he was afraid his son would be put under a protection order if he questioned or dared to disagree with the treatment on offer. This would mean he would be barred from seeing Ashya. The hospital may claim that Proton Beam therapy was discussed but then there are two versions: one,they didn’t think it would help in Ashya’s case and two:  they would have been prepared to offer it if they thought they could pay privately. They also let it be known that the family were Jehovah’s Witnesses (who are known for refusing blood transfusions) but this had nothing whatsoever to do with Ashya’s case. There was absolutely no reason to make this little boy a ward of court and insist he be returned for treatment.

Some doctors like to be regarded as pretty infallible and omniscient but people nowadays realise that they are far from it. . The internet does have some whacky information but an intelligent person can usually search and find sensible alternatives. It doesn’t take a doctor’s qualification to see the advantages of a single beam targeting cancer cells instead of the usual radiotherapy that burns healthy braincells as well. (In the latest news bulletin Dr Nicolin is quoted as saying Ashya needs two sessions of chemotherapy before he can have the Proton Beam treatment. First, how can he have the nerve to make ANY suggestions after the way he has treated the family and secondly, can he really justify chemo which will weaken Ashya still further and make him feel really ill? Hopefully the oncologist who is being sent to Spain to advise the family will have a better idea – such as sending him directly to prague where they are ready and waiting to look after him.)

It didn’t take long for the public to see how wrong it was to hunt this family down and separate a child from his parents at such a crucial  time. No-one was even saying that a crime had been committed so the big question is:

Why did it take so long for the authorities to reverse these idiotic and totally inappropriate decisions?

You would think that someone had the authority to pick up a phone and admit it was all a big mistake and the parents should have been reunited with their son within hours not days.

There’s something wrong with the way things are done if a blatant mistake is allowed to carry on because of what? The right paperwork and procedures?

 

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