British boy Ashya set for Czech Republic cancer treatment

AFP
Brett (C) and Naghemeh King, the British parents of five-year-old Ashya King, speak to the press alongside their lawyer Juan Isidro Fernandez (R) in Seville on September 3, 2014 after their release from a Spanish prison
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Brett (C) and Naghemeh King, the British parents of five-year-old Ashya King, speak to the press alongside their lawyer Juan Isidro Fernandez (R) in Seville on September 3, 2014 after their release from a Spanish prison (AFP Photo/Cristina Quicler)

London (AFP) - British boy Ashya King is due to receive treatment for his brain tumour in the Czech Republic, his family said Wednesday, after getting the green light from the British hospital responsible for his care.

Police in Spain released the parents of the five-year-old on Tuesday after they were briefly detained for removing Ashya from Southampton General Hospital in the UK without the consent of doctors.

The incident sparked an international manhunt for Brett and Naghemeh King, who were eventually tracked down with the rest of their family to Malaga, Spain.

Daniel King said Wednesday that his brother would travel to the Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) in Prague to receive specialist treatment unavailable in Britain.

"The reason we chose Prague is because it's the best solution in Europe and also cheaper than going to America," he told the BBC.

He added that he had visited his brother in hospital on Tuesday, and that he was physically "fine" but "emotionally very confused."

The Prague medical centre said proton therapy would be a suitable method of treatment for Ashya, but that he would need to go back to England first to undergo two cycles of chemotherapy.

"Ashya shall go for proton therapy to the Czech Republic," said Jiri Kubes, head of proton therapy at the centre.

Doctors there added that they had been sent Ashya's medical records by the British hospital where he was first treated.

Brett King, 51, took his son out of the hospital in southern England after claiming doctors there had blocked his attempts to take Ashya abroad for treatment and threatened to ask for a protection order.

But Peter Wilson, a paediatrician at Southampton General Hospital, said "at no stage" had the hospital threatened a court order.

"We said we would work with teams in Prague to allow them to go out there for radiation, as long it was in a safe manner."

He said he was "horrified" by claims made by Ashya's father that they were "killing" Ashya.

Brett King on Wednesday suggested that his son had only "months to live", but doctor Michael Marsh, of University Hospital Southampton trust, said the chances of surviving the condition Ashya has were "about 70-80 per cent after five years."

Ashya's grandmother Patricia King argued that the warrant should never have been issued and accused Hampshire Constabulary and Southampton General Hospital of dealing in "lies and then U-turns."

The case prompted an outcry in Britain, where some 130,000 people signed a petition calling for the boy to be reunited with his parents.

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