I rarely listen to the radio but yesterday we spent quite a while travelling in the car and every now and then I would here the news headlines about the parents who took their child from hospital without the doctors consent. At one point the news reader spoke about how the doctors feared he could die within 24 hours if not given the right care. If you haven’t heard/read about it their son, Ashya King, is five years old and has a brain tumour called a medulla blastoma.
Even at the time I thought no parents would put their child in danger for no reason and I wondered what could have happened to force them to take such drastic actions. At another point I considered the fact that maybe he was only a few days from death anyway and they wanted him out of the hospital and surrounded by loved ones.
In either case I felt sorry the parents at the same time as thinking maybe I was just being too trusting and they really were doing something awful and putting their child at risk.
About 30 minutes before feeling compelled to write this post I saw this video posted on YouTube by Ashya King’s big brother Naveed. Please, if you haven’t already seen this video, watch it!
I am so glad that my first thoughts about this family were positive ones. I am ashamed that I even considered they were doing anything wrong.
The child in this video is responsive, content and WELL CARED FOR. He is sitting with a father who obviously loves him and will do anything for him. You can see the love he has for his son by the way he instinctively places his hand so Ashya’s head won’t fall to one side. By the way he strokes his cheek when Ashya makes a noise. You can hear the pain in his voice when he tells us that after all his plans, everything he was going to do to pay for his son to have treatment was stopped by police.
This family wanted to sell their property to pay for their son to have treatment called Proton Beam. This is a treatment that won’t be available on the NHS for years. These parents were fearing their son being removed from their care if they even questioned a different treatment regime other than what his doctors recommended. Not refused their recommendations, just QUESTIONED it.
Anyway, I don’t want to just repeat what is said in the video, I want to give you me feelings on this so here goes. I apologise now if its a bit long winded and it isn’t as well written as usual but I have to write this now and it is already 1am:
1. At least twice, the radio commentator stated they removed their child without the doctors consent. Hospital isn’t a prison, parental rights are not removed as soon as a child is admitted. I can’t see how, unless the doctors had taken action, they would need consent. Since then I see this has been altered to ‘against doctors advice’ so I’m not the only one who picked up on that at least. Aren’t all patients entitled to second opinions? Is it different because its a child?
2. If you watch the video you can clearly see that Ashya is in no threat of dying within 24 hours just beacause he’s not in hospital. According to the police and doctors his feeding unit has a battery that is complicated to change. This child’s feeding system is plugged into the mains. I am sure it is like a lot of things that recharge when it is plugged in. These parents haven’t just fled without thinking. They have the right feeds and medicine that their child needs, they thought this out and made sure they had everything to keep their child safe. The only medication he has is calpol and iron suppliments, neither of these are hard to buy.
According to the BBC, Hampshire Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said “The feeding system that Ashya needs and the other associated medical care is complex, and I would appeal to Ashya’s family not to think that they are able to administer this care themselves.”
There are children, and adults, up and down the country who are fed by machines. They are not all in hospital, they are cared for by family who manage these machines and tubing all by themselves.
3. The British media has had a field day with this. They have literally been on a man hunt and brandished these loving parents as criminals. They have made people believe that the Kings have put their child in danger. This is exactly the reason I don’t watch the news, read papers or listen to the radio everyday. You just cannot trust what they are saying, it is certainly never the full story, just the sensationalised bits. I wonder just how many will dare to show/print about this video tomorrow and show the other side of the story.
4. I am so angry on behalf of this family. I’m angry they were made to feel threatened about not being able to see their son, even if the doctors didn’t say those exact words. I am angry of the way they have been vilified by the media.
I am so upset that they felt this was the only option they had left to them. But can any of you honestly say you wouldn’t have done the same, or even considered it?
I have thought long and hard and I have to admit I would. I would do everything in my power to get my child the right treatment. I would fight tooth and nail to stop something being done to my child that would harm them. I would go against doctors advice, even consent, if I truly felt there was enough hope in another treatment. I would do anything for any one of my children. Even watching the video we still don’t know the full story behind this, but I still would!
In the last few seconds of the video you can see what I believe to be Ashya’s father, Brett King, talking to a police officer. I have since learnt that both his parents have been arrested and Ashya is now in hospital. I do so hope that he has family with him and he isn’t alone and scared right now.
I’m glad they were able to record and upload this video. I’m glad people are able to see their side of the story. I truly hope the coverage it has had means that this issue won’t be brushed under the carpet and other medical professionals will get involved. I hope now that this child will indeed be able get the treatment his parents choose for him to have. I hope Ashya gets his parents back by his side as soon as possible.
Ashya’s brother Naveed posted another video on his YouTube channel with some important information:
What are your thoughts and feelings about this issue? Do you agree with what they did? Would you have done the same?