International search for JW child taken from hospital

Update: September 26, 2014,

Guardian reports – UK National Health Service will now pay for treatment
NHS England has agreed to fund proton beam therapy for Ashya under the reciprocal healthcare arrangements that exist within the EU, on the basis that the five-year-old needs a course of radiotherapy as a matter of urgency and, if he is to recover, he must have it now in Prague, where he has been taken by his family.

In Ashya’s case, however, doctors were clear that proton beams offered no advantage, because the entire brain and spine would have to be irradiated, whichever method was used.

In a statement, NHS England said: “Our thoughts are with Ashya and his family as he begins follow-on radiotherapy. Now that Ashya is in Prague, it is clearly best that Ashya continues to be treated uninterrupted so the NHS has agreed to fund this care, as requested by his parents, in accordance with relevant European cross-border arrangements.”

Prague Post reports on Ashya King’s treatment.

The boy underwent the first treatment session Sept. 15. Today he had his seventh session. In total, 30 radiation sessions have been planned for him. The proton therapy lasts six weeks.

The previous seven radiations and the next six ones focus on the whole brain to ensure that the tumour does not spread further to the body. The remaining 17 radiations will be targeted at the brain tumour.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE FAMILY DIVISION
(Judgement 8th September)

Court papers indicate that the whole of the brain radiation treatment was necessary and was offered and refused in the UK.
Point 9 states
“Ashya’s parents were very unhappy with aspects of the treatment plan. In particular, they were concerned about the prospect that he should receive the conventional type of radiotherapy which, as set out above, would encompass the whole of the brain and spine, and be administered on a number of occasions over a period of six weeks.”

The judgement notes that the Czech Proton Therapy Center was in agreement with the Southampton hospital treatment assessment.

“Today, the 5th September, Proton Therapy Center Czech has requested today and received a couple of minutes ago the treatment plan from the attending physician from Southampton. This treatment plan is acceptable for PTC from radiotherapy point of view.
We are now sending the treatment plan to the Motol Hospital but do not expect disagreement from Motol Hospital side. This is now presented to the cooperating paediatric clinic at the Motol University Hospital.”

A full outline of events and much more detail can be found in the court judgement here

Update: September 14, 2014,
Mirror News reports,

Aysha’s father saying “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness, but I’m a father first – and I’d do anything for my son.

“If a child needs treatment they should give them the treatment. It’s not for the parents to say. We just want the best for Ashya.”

The family was in the Czech Republic yesterday where Ashya was preparing for the first of 30 sessions of £70,000 radical proton beam therapy, starting in the capital Prague tomorrow morning.

Update: September 10, 2014,

The five-year-old now waiting for radiotherapy in Prague following brain tumour surgery, will suffer the same side-effects and have the same chances of recovery as if he had been treated in the UK, NHS experts believe.
Guardian report

Update: September 8, 2014,
The Independent newspaper journalist Joan Smith has an interesting take on this story and writes
Ashya King: This story is not quite what it seems
“His tumour, which is called a medulloblastoma, was removed at a major teaching hospital, Southampton General, just over six weeks ago. To maximise his chances of recovery, chemotherapy should have started within four to six weeks of surgery. It didn’t, because his parents fell out with doctors in Southampton.” More

Update: September 5, 2014,
Guardian reports views of Dr Peter Wilson, lead paediatrician at Southampton general hospital. “Proton beam therapy is commonly thought to be a kinder type of radiotherapy because it does not affect so much healthy tissue. But with this particular cancer, cancerous cells may be anywhere in the brain or spine, so the advantage protons have in treating with highly localised tumours, for instance in eyes, is lost. Most of the brain will still have to be irradiated, the doctors said.”

“We have to be really clear – we never threatened this family. What happened is that during discussions there were obviously disagreements between the paediatric oncology team and the family as to some of the treatment options. The parents asked if we refused any treatment for our child, what would happen to us? What was explained to them was that in certain circumstances, if a parent was to refuse treatment on behalf of their child and it was felt that would be putting the child at risk, we would consider going to the court.”

September 3, 2014,
Press conference reveals parents stress and that Ashya King may have to return to the UK for Chemotherapy before Proton therapy in the Czech republic Guardian reports


National Health Service statement, University Hospital, Southampton, UK, September 2, 2014

Ashya King, a five year old boy, was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumour, in July 2014. The tumour was successfully removed on 24 July 2014 at Southampton General Hospital. After surgery a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, in accordance with agreed international protocols, is needed to prevent the tumour from returning. For best results this treatment should start within four to six weeks of surgery.

With such treatment, Ashya’s chances of survival are very good (between 70- 80%).

During discussions, Ashya’s family indicated that they wished him to undergo proton radiotherapy instead of standard radiotherapy. This option was explored with the family and they were informed that in Ashya’s case there is likely to be no difference in survival between standard radiotherapy and proton radiotherapy and overall no proven significant benefit.

Therefore, the Trust considers there is no benefit to Ashya of proton radiotherapy over standard radiotherapy.

This view is supported by a national independent expert body.

Despite this, the Trust agreed with the family to refer Ashya for proton radiotherapy, as the family had indicated that they could fund it privately.

On 28 August 2014, during unsupervised leave on the Trust’s grounds, Ashya’s family chose to remove him without informing or seeking the consent of medical staff.  More

September 2, 2014, Parents released Guardian reports

Guardian reports  Parents to be released from Spanish prison and to be reunited with sick son.

Legal experts consider the ward of court decision Guardian report

September 1, 2014, BBC News Update

ON Friday 29 August 2014, Ashya King was made a ward of court at the request of Southampton General Hospital to direct that Ashya King be presented for medical treatment.” If the person with parental responsibility refuses treatment and doctors believe that decision could lead to death or severe permanent injury an application can be made to the court of protection to overrule them.

The Guardian reports: Parents remanded in custody – Judge Ismeal Moreno ordered that the couple be held in custody for up to 72 hours while he studied medical reports and documents from the couple’s defence lawyer.

September 1, 2014, Parents in court in Spain and the role of a court order to protect a child is explained in this Guardian report –
Medical treatment and the law

August 31, 2014, Police Chief defends response  “I’d much rather be standing here facing criticism over being proactive than do nothing and explain why a child has lost his life.” BBC News

Child found in Spain – Parents being interviewed by police
BBC News – SkyNews

Police have confirmed there is a European arrest warrant out for the parents of a seriously ill boy who was taken out of hospital against medical advice and is thought to be in Spain. The BBC are reporting that the child was taken against medical advice and the warrant relates to neglect.

Hampshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said the warrant was sought in order to give police the power to talk to the parents of five-year-old Ashya King, once they are located.

Interpol has sent out a missing persons alert to its 190 member countries as concerns for the boy’s welfare have grown. Sky News is reporting that the family car has been seen in Spain. 

The Daily Mail reports that a friend said doctors had removed the tumour – said to be the size of a tangerine – but had told the heartbroken family the cancer would return and would probably be inoperable.

Doctors said Ashya only had four months left to live because of the aggressive nature of his cancer.

Police are searching for the parents of a 5-year-old child taken from Southampton General hospital in the UK.  The child whose parents are now confirmed to be Jehovah’s Witnesses needs to be taken to a medical facility for his urgent health requirements as soon as he is located,” said DS Dick Pearson, of Hampshire’s major police investigation team.

He asked for help in locating the child from people on Facebook and Twitter.  In a statement Hampshire police said:

We are working with our counterparts in France to activate their emergency child rescue alert procedures to locate the family as soon as possible. If we do not locate Ashya today there are serious concerns for his life. He is receiving constant medical care within the UK due to recent surgery and ongoing medical issues.”

In a video made earlier in the month the child’s brother Naveed King said his little brother, Ashya, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and was undergoing emergency surgery. Speaking into the camera in a message directly to Ashya, he said:

I haven’t slept. I’ve been awake all night worrying. We love you so much. We’re all here for you. Everyone is praying for you. We just want to see your smile again.

No kid at the age of five deserves to have a brain tumour. Let’s just hope the doctors know what they’re doing and they know exactly where to operate and what to take out, and they take everything out and you can be better.”

The police said without 24 hour medical treatment the child is at risk.  The parents names are Brett and Naghemeh King and are travelling in a grey Hyundai I800 Style CRDI, registration KP60 HWK, and they are still believed to be in France.

The BBC is reporting that Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, removed him from the ward on Thursday.

Ashya and Brett King
Ashya’s father was pictured taking him from the hospital

Speaking at a news conference, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said “time was running out” for Ashya.

Appealing directly to the family, Mr. Shead said:

Our message to you is “please take Ashya to the nearest hospital immediately.

We understand this must be an awful time for you but the most important thing is to get the proper medical care for Ashya. Please work with us to provide Ashya that care.”

He refused to comment on the religious beliefs of the parents or their motive for taking him, but confirmed French police and other forces in Europe are involved in the search.

Brittany Ferries have now confirmed the family consisting of parents and seven children, aged from two to 23, boarded had travelled on its ferry and the company was assisting Hampshire police with its inquiries. The spokesman also confirmed the family had declared they were travelling with a child with “special medical needs” at the time of booking.

Further information from BBC News stated, “It is believed Ashya’s parents and six siblings boarded a cross-Channel ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg at 16:00 BST and arrived at 20:00.”

Police have said Ashya, who recently had surgery, is unable to communicate verbally and is immobile. He is likely to be in a wheelchair or buggy.

Cherbourg Police has confirmed it is searching locally for Ashya, checking hotels and CCTV.

Anyone with information about Ashya’s whereabouts should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101, quoting Operation Aquilion.

It is unclear why the parents have taken this action. The police are obviously concerned.  One former Jehovah’s Witness (now a member of an ex-jw support group) who is very familiar with Jehovah’s Witnesses beliefs said, “I’m all for freedom of adults to choose how they want to live their lives and what medical treatment they want or don’t want, but imposing your beliefs and choices onto children and endangering their lives is unacceptable.”

Another pointed out – who he believes really needs to comment and where responsibility for the actions of Jehovah’s Witnesses often lies – he said:

A Governing Body member should be interviewed on TV news and tell the public that they certainly don’t encourage this sort of behaviour because of their Blood policy, and encourage the parents to return to the authorities and let the doctors and nurses help their child. But of course they won’t. They will distance themselves from this and put the problem solely at the feet of the parents. And yet it’s the Governing Body and their policies that often motivate people to take these kind of actions.”

Many of the news reports are detailing inaccuracies about Jehovah’s Witnesses both in terms of numbers and beliefs. This is a small cult with only about 8 million members worldwide and not 20 million as reported by the Daily Mail. The group uses high control techniques to recruit and retain the membership.

More information:

Update 30 August Daily Mail – Spanish Police wait at holiday home after arrest warrant for neglect is issued – Link

Update 30 August 2014 Channel 4 News – Link

Update 30 August 2014 BBC News Kings possibly in Spain – Link

Update 30 August 2014 Sky News Car sighted in Marbella, Spain – Link

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusions AJWRB.org – Link

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusions inconsistencies JWFacts.com – Link

JWsurvey Jehovah’s Witnesses (other cases and commentary) – Link

Guardian Major investigation as parents take child from hospital – Link

BBC News Sick boy taken from Southampton hospital – Link

Sky News Report Missing Ashya feeding tube runs out today – Link

Daily Mail Ashya King missing after parents snatch him from hospital – Link

Susannah

About Susannah

"Susannah," JWReport's News and Opinion Editor, is very familiar with the Watchtower Society and its leaders past and present. An experienced editor and writer, she was born and raised in the UK where she was an active Jehovah's Witness until she was 28. She now lives and works in southern Europe.

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