A very venerable young boy, suffering from a severe cancerous brain tumour, was successfully operated on at a British NHS hospital, was receiving free critical care and undergoing further scheduled treatment to try and save his life.
Circumstances then arose which resulted in widespread publicity about his condition, and vitriolic criticism from far and wide of his respected Hospital and the handling of the situation by the British authorities. Some flack has come from ill-informed members of the public of course, but much more from paid journalists (who should know better) within the gutter press, eager simply to jump on the passing bandwagon, get headlines and sell their vile newspapers, irrespective of the consequences. The true facts simply get ignored by them in the rush to sensationalise a dreadful & horrific set of events involving a child.
Well what really happened then? Actually, a loving and caring family, as it turns out, were devastated by the boy’s illness (as has now subsequently become plain). They thought that there ‘might be’ better treatment available elsewhere, that would give the young lad a better chance of survival. Any parent, who has faced a similar situation, will know of the despair, the feelings of helplessness & inadequacy, the fear about the ability, competence, and knowledge of the medical team, and overridingly the need to DO something.
In short, the parents of Ashya King lost it big time didn’t they? Did they get a second opinion (as they were fully entitled to do)? NO, they trawled the internet for information (and formed their own personal medical opinions – no fault in that of course). It is quite possible that they became a disruptive influence at the hospital in the process – a common occurrence in such dramatic cases. To anyone experienced in hospital environments, the claim though that the father was ‘threatened’ by the Hospital of having his son taken away is neither credible nor believable. Certainly, the Hospital/Family relationship then had some sort of a breakdown.
Did they discharge their son from the Hospital (or try to)? NO, they lied to his medics and whisked him away without warning. Did the Hospital have any idea what had happened to their extremely sick charge, kept alive by special battery operated feeding arrangements? NO, not a clue.
Was the boy spirited away on a spur of the moment’s whim? NO, in a well constructed plan by all accounts. Did the parents discuss with anyone at the Hospital their ability to care for their son? NO, certainly not.
Did they take their boy to another hospital? NO, they took their very ill son, shortly after a major brain operation, on a gruelling seven day and at least one and a half thousand miles road journey, by people carrier, across the Channel through France & Spain to their holiday home area in the South.
Did they take him in an ambulance, or with ANY qualified medical carer? NO, just the rest of the large family. At ANY stage did they get in touch with the Hospital or the UK authorities, or indeed ANY medical unit en route? NO, they simply did a runner, didn’t they?
The subsequent explanation for the excessively long journey? Apparently to sell property to raise the money for ‘private’ treatment – surely the sensible way of doing that, would have been for one of them to go and simply do the business – but these parents were not mentally sound then, were they?
The parents are the ones who made the very bad choices here, although nevertheless we others can feel deeply sorry for them and the despair of their plight – but that doesn’t excuse the unwarranted blame being heaped on those trying to protect a child (a patient who has incapacity to consent), does it?
Being completely in the dark, and with their at risk patent ‘missing’, what were the Hospital to do, faced with their own onerous responsibly? NOT ONE OF THE PUBLIC CRITICS HAS EVER ATTEMPTED TO ANSWER THAT ONE, HAVE THEY? After (a too long?) six hours, the Hospital of course told the Police, and asked if they could find the child; and appropriately they also informed the Courts.
The sad outcome of all this was that the family were eventually traced to Marbella Spain, the parents were arrested there for their actions (which constituted neglect) and spent some days in prison, while their sick son was admitted to a Spanish hospital for urgent medical care. When the UK authorities recognised that the kid was not any longer in danger, the parents were released to rejoin their son (who has now recently been admitted, by exceptional arrangement, to a specialist cancer hospital in Czech Prague – and hopefully be suitable for their treatment). [Prague is about two thousand miles by road from where they had absconded to, but was only half that from their Southampton Hospital].
[It is now even being reported in a tabloid newspaper’s headlines that Ashya is ‘worried’ when his parents leave the room that they are going back to prison. That is plainly ‘not true’ (because it would indicate that his family are still making ‘bad choices’, and who in their right mind would tell a five year old youngster anything about the prison situation? Not the Kings in these circumstances you can be sure of that). THATS THE PRESS FOR YOU!].