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Parents deciding not to go ahead with cancer treatment

The parents of Ayesha King have been in the news this weekend (see here, for example  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/31/ashya-king-found-spain-parents-arrested   ) and the parents removed their child from hospital against medical advice and took their child out of the country.   The Kings were wanting a form of therapy for their son’s cancer that is not available on the NHS, and found themselves in a quarrel with the medical professionals in England, leading them to take their son out of the country.  That led to a European arrest warrant being issued and the King’s being found and arrested.

 

I don’t want to write too much about the individual case, because it is all very real and raw and painful for this family, and we don’t have the facts that would allow us to make a proper decision about what they were doing was right or wrong.

 

This piece is more about the general principle of whether a parent has the right to decide what is best for their child, or whether the doctors have the final say?   For an adult, they can listen to medical advice and if they are capable of understanding it are entitled to decline to follow it. The State can’t enforce medical treatment on anyone who is able to understand the consequences and who says “no thanks”.  For a child, the same thing doesn’t seem to apply. A parent who understands the advice but disagrees with it, can still find themselves in Court and with an order being made authorising the doctors to carry out the treatment.

That’s a body of jurisprudence which began with the thorny issue of children of Jehovah’s Witnesses who needed blood transfusions. Their religion forbids blood transfusions, and the parents in these cases were refusing the treatment. Without the treatment, the child would die, and that led to a number of applications to the High Court, finally arriving at the accommodation that there would be no adverse religious consequences for the parent IF the transfusion happened because the Court ordered it, and that’s the way those are dealt with now. Of course, when balancing a child’s life against parental wishes, there’s likely to only be one winner.

 

Things got more difficult in the case of conjoined twins. The medical conclusion was that together, both would die, but if they were separated one would live and one would die. The parents for moral and religious reasons were not prepared to sanction the treatment.  The case went up to the Supreme Court and is probably one of the most difficult decisions ever made. The Court were particularly in difficulty with article 2, the right to life. The Court is bound by article 2 and has to uphold it, but a determination that the operation would go ahead would kill one of the twins where a refusal of the operation would probably kill both.

Re A (children) 2000

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2000/254.html

The Court sanctioned the operation and overrode the parents objections, although they were intelligent, rational people who understood the risks and consequences but were of the view that every day of life for their children was precious and they did not want to shorten that, even if it might save one of the twins.  There are some commentators (myself included) who consider that the Court here got into tricky waters – if a parent is the person who are capable of exercising decisions for their child and they are choosing between two dreadful outcomes  (as opposed to blood transfusion or die) then shouldn’t the State respect their decision?

Difficult cases make bad law, so they say. But these two cases were clearly about where failure to act would result in death, and perhaps the Court is entitled to intervene. The problem for me is that once you start down a road of the State being in charge in situation X, along comes situation Y, not as bad but still one where the State wants to intervene, and a slippery slope begins.

If there’s a life-saving treatment and the parents are refusing it, then Re A (children) 2000 is probably authority for the State taking over the decision. But what about where the treatment is not going to save life or cure the illness, but instead prolong life, perhaps with reduced quality of life?

 

In 2012 there were a couple of cases where parents did not want their child to undergo chemo-therapy and sought alternative treatments.  This is not an easy thing to contemplate, and people’s views on it tend to be very polarised – between the parents are parents and they can do what they think is right, to any parent would follow medical advice and get their child the help they need.

 

There were a spate of these cases in 2012, and I wrote about one where the High Court dealt with this issue extensively (the mother wanted to pursue alternative treatment and the father originally agreed but by the time of the Court hearing had come round to supporting the medical professionals)

https://suesspiciousminds.com/2013/01/15/the-role-of-the-court-in-assessing-alternative-medical-treatment/

 

NHS Trust v SR 2012

 

It is worth noting in that case that the Court was effectively resolving a dispute between mother and father as to type of treatment, which is a pure Children Act 1989 decision – specific issue order, the Court’s jurisdiction and authority to make a decision is because there are two parents asking the Court to settle a dispute.  With the King’s, that might become more complex, as both parents are in unity. If they don’t want Ayesha treated in England, it might well be that the Court is invited to borrow from Re A and NHS Trust v SR to set up that in these matters the State can intervene even though the parents understand the medical advice and choose not to follow it.

I hope that all of this gets sorted out without the need for the Court to get involved.  Whatever treatment this sick boy has, he will benefit from having his parents around and their blessing.

 

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

67 responses

  1. Ashamedtobebritish

    The real point being is everyone is entitled to a second opinion, either in or out if the country.
    The doctors had no right to blackmail this family into silence with the threat of an epo which would have meant social services involvement and care proceedings.
    The child us now getting the treatment, so the parents were correct in their decision, but arrested for it, which is another matter, what law did they break? This is clearly a matter of battered egos and yet again misconduct.
    The police had no right to get involved other than a welfare check … I am convinced social services are yet again behind this, stopping at nothing to get their own way!

    • He isn’t getting the treatment and had no foreseeable prospect of getting it, as the parents had done nothing towards raising the necessary funds.

      The hospital has denied threatening an EPO and in fact hasn’t applied for one. It says it was happy for the parents to seek a second opinion and to help them if they wanted alternative treatment abroad. Why wouldn’t they? If the parents were prepared to fund it, it would save the hospital a fortune.

      • Ashamedtobebritish

        They were funding it. If the hospital deny all this who called the police? It’s already been proven they lied about his feeding pump batteries dying, the lies keep coming, don’t be fooled by the media

    • The law that the police would have stated that the Kings broke is child neglect or child cruelty (the 1933 Act). The Hampshire police, to obtain a European arrest warrant, would have had to tell a Court (and satisfy the Court) that they had enough evidence to prosecute the Kings and intended to do so.

      The bigger issue is whether the police were correct in that assertion to obtain the warrant (it seems that the child’s health/life was not in danger and that the Kings have cared for him perfectly well, just not in an English hospital) and whether they misused the warrant to allow them to conduct an INVESTIGATION of that, and had no real intention of prosecuting the Kings. If so, there’s an abuse of process avenue available here.

      It might be that a charge is made, and swiftly dropped, so that the police/CPS can bow out of this case gracefully.

      It is difficult, you hear the police talking about how they felt the child was at imminent risk of death and that they would rather be criticised for being OTT than for failure to act (that might be the care system in microcosm there) but it does appear that the risks were being rather ramped up by someone.

      On the facts that we have, an EPO sounds like a very OTT threat.

    • Just read an account in one of the newspapers that the hospital states that Aysha was removed during a unsupervised “leave”, obviously his parents were not aware that their child had joined one of the armed forces or has been imprisoned, leave indeed. I am sure that they will say that it is poor choice of words but is does give an insight as to how they perceive their role. What’s next bars on the windows of hospitals?

    • There’s more to this than meets the eye. The family live in Spain although they are ‘British’. So why were they in UK in the first place? Proton therapy is a contaversial procedure that the Drs thought would not benefit. The retailers of the proton treatment obviously disagree and would shell out for a private jet for the boy, so huge are their profits. Taking a child out of hospital while they are recovering from surgery is not an act of kindness in any case. I’m afraid there is never going to be a happy ending in this case

  2. stella aka toni macleod

    Having been dragged into this case thanks to a rather arrogant member of Hampshire police and veiled threats of arrest if I did not aid their investigation to find him following having my private phone calls tapped into ……. I kid you not 😦 for once I can honestly say I actually genuinely didn’t have anything to do with it directly indirectly not even so much as dropped a number scrawled onto a piece of paper near them granted had I known anything I still wouldn’t have told them so I could see their point of not believing me lmao

    I can safely say the NHS trust and Hampshire ss have acted illegally from start to finish and quite simply have no power what so ever there IS no EPO PPO or even a ICO on this kid therefore the choice is up to the parents essentially they can’t even bring them as a family or even him as an individual child back into the country as they legally walked out of the hospital with their son to go for a second opinion or alternative treatment they misled the public by implying that he would die if he did not return ……rather a lot of BS !

    You can buy tube feeding food from shops and chemists up and down the country the battery packs and indeed batteries are again sold all over and children’s ward 101 rule is to show the parents asap how to do wound care tube usage etc etc so it eases the burden off the nursing staff and so parents know how to care for their child -_-

    The parents have committed no crime and there were no orders in place when they left although when they return they will have the delight of facing arrogant know it all social workers who wouldn’t know their ass from their elbow on the subject however they can’t legally get him back if they actually don’t break the laws legislation’s and protocols they can hardly start cracking out the Hague brussells twos in a public arena which also brings me to the next point should ss start a case against them the public would have a right to hear all the ins and outs given the police and hospital have made it all public with all the details so its not as though they could use the to hide the child’s identity BS. Excuse given he’s all over the TV n media

    Personally I’d wack a huge jr in with a huge damages pay out n then hammer them for slander and breach of echr 8 dpa and medical confidentiality breaches then investigate the police breaches and go after them too lmfao

    Stella xx

    • Ashamed to be British

      So would I, I said the same yesterday, heads need to roll.

      Ironic that bringing him back to the UK will probably endanger his life (and the lives of his siblings who will inevitably end up in care … Pedro family anyone?)

      It might help Stella if you explain how you know that the parents are definitely trained (if you want to divulge of course) obviously I know, but other readers will wonder how you’ve come to this conclusion x

      • stella aka toni macleod

        Nana S quite simply because as you already know I have been where these parents were with no child protection no court orders no nothing and being blackmailed abused and threatened into compliance by the NHS trust of course everyone is well aware with me il still do what I want but ensure I covertly record the unlawful actions

        my son was born with his organs outside his body Alderhay children’s hospital did an amazing job of saving his life repairing the damage and returning my son to perfection the first thing they did from day one bearing in mind I am petrified of hospitals needles and was a nervous wreck in case I might have done something wrong that would harm my angel and the obvious emotional turmoil I was in being told he wouldn’t make it and having just had his last rites read by the hospital priest was from day one minute one was to show me how to care for him what the machines were doing which tube was which explain the medications how the wound site would be taken care of and as each day progressed they continue to update and upgrade the information I am now completely educated in wound care mouth care dressing changes suction vacs breathing machines etc. etc.

        this is of course the same for every single hospital and every single family and child its standard practice as my eldest son had meningococcal septicaemia twice when he was a baby in the space of less than 6 months from which he suffered under developed internal organs abnormal breathing needed hourly monitoring and resus when he stopped breathing using nebulizers oxygen machines steroids anti biotics etc. etc.

        In total with my children we have been involved with 9 different hospitals in 9 different areas covering wales England Scotland and Ireland every single one has done the same

        however following transfer to a hospital dictated by ss my son and I still had no child protection no care orders nothing and we should have been discharged on the Friday but I have recorded proof of being sat in a room with 2 consultants 2 nurses 1 social worker and 1 social work manager telling me we couldn’t leave they wouldn’t give us the medication for my son that he needed if we did leave even down to being threatened that if I left the hospital bearing in mind he was medically fit for discharge on the Thursday in WRITING by the hospital that I would be arrested and I would never see my child this being screamed at me by the consultant and of course I am luckily more fluent in the ins and outs of legal matters given I work in and out the courts up and down the country I politely told the jumped up consultant …….

        please refrain from raising your voice at me you have no legal justification for ringing the police I cannot be arrested my son is fit and well I have recorded you stating he was fit to go home I am a risk of future emotional harm from what I may say given my historical political preferences you have no grounds ….

        which the social worker hastily agreed I was correct upon needless to say they still refused his medication and we were illegally held in hospital for 4 additional days until I finally had had enough told them I’d have their licence for it and what is the medical justification for retaining my son and I in hospital wasting nhs resources and being abusive to us we walked out of hospital that day with our medication and remained for a significant amount of time with no orders in place however that hospital put reports in backed by social services that I was abusive disruptive and neglectful to my son and put my own needs before his

        of course one may say this is just me saying having a grievance however there is a rather large Judicial review involving 2 nhs trusts and one local authority in the royal courts of justice coming up very soon sometime this month where it is of course an open public hearing so feel free to confirm what I have said as the paperwork is a shocking read of what goes on and gets said behind your back

        this of course happens up and down the country daily in regard to contact with new born babies and young children whom have ss involvement or who question the nhs trusts which I am hoping the JR will set another precedent to put a stop to as it is nothing short of barbaric I was lucky in that Alderhay hospital staff were unquestionable family orientated and humane given that the local authority in question stopped my contact with my new-born son for 3 days when he was on life support having had his last rites read following major surgery that and of course I dragged a judge from the principal registry off the golf course on a Sunday and got his backing to have my contact reinstated and the LA explain their unlawful actions as to stopping my contact when they had no child protection or care orders to dictate such a cruel act not withstanding they had no grounds either I am ironically a risk of what I may say future emotional harm and I think it’s safe to say new-borns aren’t going to understand the intricate details of political discussions !

        Andrew before you have heart failure from open discussions its public raised in parliament European parliament the JR is public the story is public and of course the attached judgement as ever is tied to me publically and all information is available on baili and I haven’t named my gorgeous little man ……deep breaths deep deep breaths in and out thatta boy you can breathe easy ha ha

        oh and if anyone is interested the public Jr is Macleod v Durham cc Alderhay nhs trust and Darlington memorial nhs trust it should be an interesting case given the defences range from ‘it never happened but if it did it was Durham’s fault’ to ‘it was the hospitals fault not ours we told them not to do it’ and finally to ‘we are the hospital we can do whatever we want in regards to our patients yes we did all the above coz we can’ unfortunately the paper trail and recorded audio and video evidence makes for a shocking eye opener

        Stella xx

      • Ashamedtobebritish

        And so, the truth is out, this is not a one off!

  3. Thanks for that AP: a very human response, esp last couple of paras

  4. If anyone has the parent details, please could they get in contact. I lost my child to Neuroblastoma, but I was lucky enough to extend his life by years by taking his abroad to the USA. I am a serving police officer – I know that Hampshire police do not have the requisite knowledge, i hope to put that right – but please know that Hampshire police did not secure the arrest warrant – that was sanctioned by a court – the NHS have a lot to answer for here… they do not want another public appeal of kids with cancer going abroad for treatment.

    • stella aka toni macleod

      we have contact with the family making organisations for the funding for the treatment to the extent paypal are now investigating the account due to the high amount coming in 😦 the son is extremely vocal and explaining every thing questioned to those who are interested he is of course in touch with the rest of his family

      the arrest warrant was to my knowledge acquired by the NHS and no doubt Hampshire local authority

      hope that helps xx

  5. There’s obviously much more to this alarming persecution of the Brett family that meets the eye and the police as well as the public appear to have been deceived.
    Will Southampton Hospital be prosecuted for wasting Police time?
    The treatment of Patricia King by Hampshire Police is disturbing, as well as Stella’s treatment by the police.
    There can be no question whatsoever of any cruelty by the child’s parents who are innocent, yet have been lambasted by the hospital.
    Questions need answering and those responsible for the deceptions need to be held accountable.

    • stella aka toni macleod

      you can rest assured i will be making complaints and full investigations as to whom authorized the illegal tapping of my telephone calls and the attitude and veiled threats i received

      i just hope the family take legal action when everything settles down xx

  6. Get your facts straight. Religion had nothing to do with this.. Clearly you are allowing prejudice and a partial view to influence your article. The issue is simply parents who love a child wanting the best treatment for cancer, treatment not offered in the UK, proton beam. You imply the issue is related to blood, how ignorant. Dont write an article unless you know the facts first

    • Thank you for your kind and warm comments. Sadly, my article has not made it sufficiently clear to you that I am supportive of these parents and supportive of the principle that the State should stay out of it if parents understand the medical advice and decide not to follow it. (the blood and religion points relate to the other cases the Courts have decided that have eroded that principle)

      • I most certainly do not agree that parents should be allowed to ignore medical advice on behalf of their child and I don’t think that you really mean it. Parents have no more right to condemn their child to death by ignoring medical advice than they have to push him off a cliff.

        That is absurd and not good law as the case of child N which you link to shows. A child is not a possession which we can dispose of according to our beliefs. It has its own rights to life and to medical treatment.

        There’s no evidence that these parents were so irresponsible and all this is just speculation. These parents are carrying a terrible burden and least we can all do is restrain ourselves from absorbing their specific facts into our excited speculation..

      • This is addressed to Mranda Dealler.

        Medical decisions are sometimes mere opinions and not robustly evidence based, as many are experimental / novel and not systematically evaluated, much cancer research is undertaken in ‘silos’..

        These days any parent of above average intelligence should be able to weight up pros and cons of the treatment being suggested.

        In my experience ,(I am in the process of taking to task medics whose treatment nearly killed my dear vulnerable relative), doctors do not necessarily seek valid consent to treatments that are toxic, (as are cancer treatments), when they should,
        If the relevant information was available from the international ‘experts’ in the field doing the medical research then it might be found the best interests of the patient would not necessarily be served by a proposed treatment. Fortunately my educational background means I can read medical papers, question experts internationally,and then raise issue with the consultants who instituted the treatment, challenging their treatment decision.

        I expect the King’s have done their equivalent of seeking the least ‘toxic’ treatment for a son who is terminal ( I am a cancer patient and in a not dissimilar situation). sometimes the doctors just do not discuss sufficiently the very details that relate to your particular case for you to feel they are making the appropriate treatment decision. I sympathise with the King’s, they are not criminals, nor are they neglectful. they want to try the best and least toxic approach- so would I.

    • stella aka toni macleod

      it was the police officer himself detective callahan i think his name was who informed me it was a refusal of treatment due to religious reasons 😦 xx

      • Ashamedtobebritish

        The family have told me themselves they were seeking researched treatment, the nhs didn’t want them to and we don’t have resources for it in the uk, it really hasn’t got anything to do with religion, even if it did, it’s still their right to take their child out of this country without being hunted down like criminals

  7. None of the cases mentioned seem to have invoked article 8 and the invasion of private life….. X in Finland on this link is useful in the context of forced medication and maybe applicable in a wider context…. http://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/ECHR/2012/1371.html

    • That’s a good point Shaun – I think for the blood transfusion and conjoined twin case, the article 2 right to life trumps article 8 (but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t have been weighed in the balance) but it is certainly deeply important for any Court that is trying to extend the role of the State in usurping (informed and capacitous) parental decisions.

      • We’ve rowed back a little I see from being “supportive of the principle that the State should stay out of it if parents understand the medical advice and decide not to follow it.”

        “Informed and capacitous” are certainly important aspects of parental decision-making. Perhaps you subsumed them under “understand the medical advice and decide not to follow it”.

        What would be your position then on someone with a good grasp of the medical advice who decided that their child was called by God to heaven and therefore he should not be hindered on his way? Would you have to declare that to be mad? Or misinformed? Or would the child’s own right to life have some significance?

      • In this context, I think capacitous and informed are subsumed under “understand the medical advice” – if they don’t have capacity, then they don’t understand the medical advice, and thus it is right that the State intervene.

        Let me put it this way, I think if someone behaved like Abraham and believed that God wanted them to kill their child, that would be a mental health issue and they would lack capacity. If they believe that God is opposed to the medical treatment, it becomes more complicated. If it is part of scripture that they can point to, I think the Court would deal with it in the way that they have dealt with the Jehovah’s Witness blood transfusion issue. If it is a generic belief that God won’t let anything bad happen to THEIR child because they are believers and are refusing treatment, then that’s probably capacity assessment time. [In light of the decision on the “Tithe” case, it is possible that if they were functioning normally in every other regard, the State would not intervene. If their belief is “Heaven is better than our human life, so if our child dies early, he will be in a better place” that’s a belief that I personally have no time for, but for the State to say that it has no weight means making qualitive judgments about religion that probably isn’t the Courts place. ]

        People can, and do, make bad decisions all of the time. Of course, if they have capacity, they also have to live with the consequences. So, if a parent refuses medical treatment and the child dies, there’s the possibility of a prosecution. I’m absolutely not saying that parents have the right to do whatever they want with their child; free of criminal consequences or care proceedings if the threshold is not met. But not every case where a parent says “Thank you, but I don’t want that particular treatment for my son” crosses either criminal or care thresholds.

        Where the doctors aren’t saying “Treatment X and only treatment X will save the life of the child/alleviate pain and suffering”, it seems far less clear cut to me. Some of these cases involve a trade-off between quantity of life and quality of life for the child, and it seems to me that this is a judgment call for the people most affected by it, not the State.

        I appreciate that my views are out of kilter with the direction of travel the Courts are taking, which is much more that the State knows best.

        {I ought to have said, and am adding it into this comment, that I’m grateful for your counter view – I absolutely don’t think this issue is black and white, and it is always good to hear the opposing point of view. You made me think}

      • stella aka toni macleod

        miranda personally id say no to all state intervention in regards to family life family decisions and religious choices medical upgrades dont change things they interfere prolong and increase population against the natural order

        some judge in a court isnt going to stand in the childs place on judgement day when his religious beliefs are judged on

        thats not to say a parents will should be forced upon a child i personally dont force my children to attend church but i do force them to be christened because i want them buried on holy ground when they die when they are old enough every child should be given an opportunity to choose their paths and religious beliefs

        however your argument falls void because cancer suffers or other horrid diseases that torment the sufferers dont have the choice of free will to elected suicide to die pain free and put a end to their suffering when its their choice they are capable of deciding enough is enough however the state says no you will stay and suffer whats to say and im not relating this to the case at hand but lets for arguments sake say that to torment a child every minute of every day to extend its life for maybe 6 months but make those 6 months of living be a living hell surely it should be quality over quantity !?

        but all hospitals by proxy have a no kill extend and persevere policy why shouldnt the family be able to judge when enough is enough or to try something else surely wasnt the original foundation of medical work based around trial and error

        which in fact leads me on to a perfect point you say the doctors know best well didnt they ‘know best’ back years and years ago where to cure a head ache they drilled a hold in the patients brain to treat mental health issues they locked them in a cell and tried to flog the evil spirit out or electrocution to sort the problem along with shoving a wire coat hanger in the mother to create abortions and of course when you allow the evil duo of the nhs and social services to decided whats best you of course not 50 years gone by had all single parents have their newborn babies sadistically removed and adopted which has left a whole generation of illegally adopted children traumatised parents children and no doubt sisters and brothers breeding course they arent aware they are related and anonymous children with no one responsible for them used as pedophile toys yes because the state knows best !

  8. Ashamedtobebritish

    The family can be found on Facebook under fight for Ashya king
    Updates are the money has been raised for treatment which has been offered in Prague, the authorities aren’t taking him to receive it so far -_-
    The child has been alone since the arrest of his parents, that’s child cruelty, the parents are in court with no legal rep and not much idea what the charge is, breaching both art 6 and 8
    There was no blood transfusion involved and the feeding pump was a plugged in device, so the whole battery running out was a lie
    The parents will probably refuse extradition, therefore will be held forever until a hearing, how does that help Ashya? Being forced to have him refused treatment in the uk is backing them into a corner, either way Ashya does not get the treatment!
    Someone needs to put a stop to this witch hunt now!

    • Stella wrote:

      “miranda personally id say no to all state intervention in regards to family life family decisions and religious choices medical upgrades dont change things they interfere prolong and increase population against the natural order”

      At least your position is coherent

  9. As a previous Biomedical Scientist I am familiar with medical research so did my own checking of whether Proton Beam therapy is a suitable alternative to the usual treatment with photon radiation for Medulloblastoma. The results are good BUT most importantly the side effects are considerably less . This is important as side effects can be permanent and affect cognitive ability. Medulloblastoma is cited in all the literature in the list of tumours suitable for this type of radiation therapy . in fact on a number of American hospital sites who use Proton Beam therapy Medulloblastoma is first on the list of tumours that they treat. So my questions are ‘Why were the parents told that Proton Beam was not suitable and why when the hospital knew that the feeding mechanism was easy to operate and that they had sufficient supplies did the police give the impression that he would be deprived of food. Serious questions need to be asked . NOT of the parents but of the hospital , the local authority Social Services and the police.

    I have some knowledge of previous treatment of parents at Southampton General Hospital notably the case of Marianne Williams who was falsely accused of salt poisoning and a false allegation of Factitious illness in a severe case of allergy ., I have now come across parents of children with complex heart conditions who are willing to talk to the. Press. I have called for the Press to investigate

    • Ashamed to be British

      I’m afraid this is a common practise, lying to get the child, they’ve come unstuck on this occassion because the family had the common sense to youtube every step, but this is how our wonderful system works … lie, lie and lie some more, then everyone cover each other, it’s sick

  10. I don’t know all the facts but I do know of someone who was intimidated by a hospital in regard to their child who was severely handicapped. On the surface of this case the parents seem to genuinely want what is best for their little boy. What I find most perplexing (and please don’t lynch me for saying this) is how these poor sods can be criminalised for displaying parental concern yet Gerry and Kate McCann have been virtually “sainted” for leaving not only their 3 year old daughter who tragically vanished but also TWO babies unattended whilst they placed their own desires over and above parental responsibility.
    It seems to be a two tier law of the land i.e. if your are yourself a GP/Specialist you can engage the backing of politicians and famous folk but if you are just a humble caring parent you are b*@ !ered !

    • Well said Gill- I made the same point about the McCaans in another place. It beggers belief the child protection system didn’t act more severely in the UK. In social work speak they- ‘put their own interests above that of their children’ by leaving them alone thus to eat out with friends. Even my very aged mother was aghast that anyone could leave mere babes alone like they did in a place where they were out of sound and sight..

      It is clear that some are escaping social work actions to remove their kids on the same issues that others are having theirs removed too readily. Two tier Britain certainly- a very unequal and unsafe country for decent caring people just doing their best, a safe haven for the elite who are untouchable..

    • stella aka toni macleod

      HEAR HEAR !!!

      you have the likes of the McCanns who can neglect and drug their kids to have a night out and get drunk then you have the **** Cameron who forgets his kid in a pub and they get away scot free ……money speaks volumes

      if your face fits and who you have backing you gets you away with murder quite literally in the above case

      yet dare be a working class individual who live on the bread line then ya screwed in every way

      civil war is coming and i for one think it cant come quick enough its about the compliance comes to an end and us the people actually get treated fairly and our bloody kids left alone by the state ! xx

      • Would it be alright if we stopped talking about the McCanns? Given that they have been known to sue for defamation. We’ve probably gone as far about them as I would want to go.

        But the general principle that poor or working class people get treated more harshly than middle-class people who do similar things is a perfectly valid one, and something that I agree happens. I did a long piece about it here

        https://suesspiciousminds.com/2013/01/28/in-england-justice-is-open-to-all-like-the-ritz-hotel/

        Oh, I am seeing a lot of people on Twitter asking about the criminal offence that got the European Arrest Warrant. I’d imagine it is s1 Children and Young Persons Act 1933

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/23-24/12/section/1

        Cruelty to persons under sixteen.

        (1)If any person who has attained the age of sixteen years and [F1has responsibility for] any child or young person under that age, wilfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons, or exposes him, or causes or procures him to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned, or exposed, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health (including injury to or loss of sight, or hearing, or limb, or organ of the body, and any mental derangement), that person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable—

        (a)on conviction on indictment, to a fine . . . F2 or alternatively, . . . F3, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding [F4ten] years;

        (b)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding [F5£400] pounds, or alternatively, . . . F3, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months.

        (2)For the purposes of this section—

        (a)a parent or other person legally liable to maintain a child or young person [F6, or the legal guardian of a child or young person,] shall be deemed to have neglected him in a manner likely to cause injury to his health if he has failed to provide adequate food, clothing, medical aid or lodging for him, or if, having been unable otherwise to provide such food, clothing, medical aid or lodging, he has failed to take steps to procure it to be provided under [F7the enactments applicable in that behalf];

        (b)where it is proved that the death of an infant under three years of age was caused by suffocation (not being suffocation caused by disease or the presence of any foreign body in the throat or air passages of the infant) while the infant was in bed with some other person who has attained the age of sixteen years, that other person shall, if he was, when he went to bed, under the influence of drink, be deemed to have neglected the infant in a manner likely to cause injury to its health.

        (3)A person may be convicted of an offence under this section—

        (a)notwithstanding that actual suffering or injury to health, or the likelihood of actual suffering or injury to health, was obviated by the action of another person;

        (b)notwithstanding the death of the child or young person in question.

        From the information that has come out, it seems doubtful that they would obtain a conviction on that offence, and there’s some doubt about whether it is an offence that you can extradite someone for.

        It might provoke some wider debate about European Arrest Warrants, which were waved through by Parliament with very little scrutiny…

    • Ashamed to be British

      Theres nothing here Suess that hasn’t been published world wide and admitted by the McCanns, I’d like to see them try to sue you for us writing what they said publicly

      • These are parents who have now funded the cancer treatment for their son by selling the story to the papers I reckon

      • Yes, but what people were probably leading up to saying is the sort of thing that I could be sued for. Hence, drawing it to a close.

      • Ashamedtobebritish

        I understand Suess, they seem to attempt to sue anyone who dares question them, I’ll say no more but just FYI I am always very careful in what I say personally knowing what could happen, however I wouldn’t want this to escalate and cause you trouble

  11. Reblogged this on Lorraine Cleaver and commented:
    Very interesting comments on the #AshyaKing scandalous situation.

  12. Aysha the little Boy is in a spanish hospital his mum and dad in custody. The fact the authorities wont let the little Boy have his broghers Or Any othersibling with him is very cruel and may i say stressful its a disgrace the way his parentshave been trett. Let them take him to prague

  13. Not a legal point but Hampshire police were so keen to use their missing child media alert system that they have arguably not complied with own conditions:

    http://www.hampshire.police.uk/internet/news-and-appeals/child-rescue-alert/

    There are four key criteria to be met before an Alert is issued, namely:

    A child under the age of 16 yrs old is missing
    A senior police officer (of at least Superintendent rank) feels that serious harm OR death may occur to the child
    The child has been kidnapped and…
    The case has sufficient descriptive details (or CCTV/photos) of the victim or offender, to justify launching an Alert.

    Conditions (ii) is only met if the police thought that the parents were withholding treatment. The tosh about the battery was just for credulous journalists. A two minute interview with the doctor from a competent questioner would have shown that the real argument was that the parents wanted to obtain treatment which the hospital was unwilling to fund. That’s all. A political argument about funding cancer treatment. None of the business of the police.

    Condition (iii) is also not the case. The parents did not require the consent of the doctors. It is a hospital, not a prison. Although the Karen Matthews case showed that you can abduct your own child, this had not happened. They had simply removed a child against the advice of doctors. As they were entitled to do

    “Feeling” that there is a risk is not the same as there objectively being a risk, based on rational assessment of the conditions. “Feeling” is precisely what has caused this unholy mess. We want bit of thinking here. The CPO and the doctors are both going to have to wind their neck in and the sooner they make their minds up to it, the better. Southampton cannot possibly continue to offer the child care since nobody trusts them further than they can throw them. The police are going to have to admit they should never have raised the EAW and were just showing off in a revolting display of dick-waving which has achieved nothing but the incarceration in isolation of a dying infant. System abuse, that is.

    • Ashamedtobebritish

      Not to mention the definition of kidnap …

      transitive verb
      : to seize and detain or carry away by unlawful force or fraud and often with a demand for ransom

    • That’s interesting – the Child Rescue Alert website has slightly different criteria

      When do you use a Child Rescue Alert?

      Child Rescue Alert is intended to be activated by the police when particular criteria are met:

      The child is believed to be under 18 years old;
      There is a perception that the child is in imminent danger of serious harm or death;
      There is sufficient information available to enable the public to assist police in locating the child.

      And what was being reported on Friday would probably cover that (there’s a whole different debate about whether what the Hospital told the Police and the Police told the Press and the Press told us was accurate)

      http://childrescuealert.org.uk/home/page/Faqs

      It raises a separate debate about whether use of these alerts might give rise to defamation or data protection claims – if there isn’t a proper case of imminent danger then telling thousands of people that Mr and Mrs X did something bad to a child when they didn’t is potentially actionable.

      [Your point on the difference between rational assessment of evidence and ‘feeling’ is a very powerful and apt one, by the way]

    • As someone familiar with ‘the system’ I have to disagree that this was about funding. Funding would have been possible through NHS England BUT only with the consent of the medical consultant. So like other medical cases that I am aware of specifically at Leeds there has been a reluctance to allow parents to take their children elsewhere. some have had veiled accusations of Factitious illness. So this is not about money but about power.

    • A court issued a warrant. That’s it. Full stop. Stop blamng the police, if a court issues a warrant, it is the duty of the POLICE to follow it up.

      • stella aka toni macleod

        Full “Excuse” by the CPS why the applied for the EAW’s in the first place

        CPS stops proceedings in relation to Brett and Naghmeh King

        A CPS spokesperson said:

        “In light of further evidence received by the CPS we have arranged for the discharge of the European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) in relation to Brett and Naghmeh King. The CPS has urgently reviewed the case and we consider there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction for any criminal offence. We have therefore decided to stop the criminal proceedings.

        “When the EAWs were first issued, at the request of Hampshire Police, on Friday 29 August, the evidence indicated that there was a likelihood that this five-year-old boy was at serious risk of threat to his life, and that he could not receive the care that he required unless he was under the care of medical professionals.

        “Ashya King had major surgery to remove a brain tumour five weeks ago, and a further operation on his brain on 22 August. As a result of these procedures he was extremely ill and has been unable to speak and unable to eat or drink on his own. The evidence was that he required round the clock nursing care to manage his recovery, including to manage the feeding tube which was keeping him alive and hydrated. This feeding tube can easily become dislodged and, if not handled correctly, can cause a serious risk to health. It was evident that Mr and Mrs King had not had the necessary training to remove it and reinsert it if it had become dislodged. If this happens, the food can enter the lungs which can be fatal. The evidence was that the King family also did not have any of the specialist nutrition that Ashya needed and that the feeding tube required charge from a battery which was running out and for which the parents had not taken the power supply. There was a reasonable suspicion that Ashya’s health and safety were likely to be seriously harmed if he was not returned to medical care urgently.

        “The information was from medical professionals who were extremely worried that a child was in real danger and that, as a result of being removed from Southampton General Hospital and taken abroad without a medical plan for treatment and care, this seriously ill little boy would not get the care that he desperately needed. Therefore the CPS was asked to consider if there was a reasonable suspicion that Mr and Mrs King had committed an offence of child cruelty through wilful neglect.

        “Today has shown that Mr and Mrs King did take certain steps to safeguard the health of Ashya, for example it appears they had ordered specialist foods to care for Ashya, and had managed to charge the food pump using their car battery. Also, evidence from two independent medical experts indicated that the risk to Ashya’s life was not as great or immediate as had been originally thought. Accordingly the necessary element of wilful neglect to support a charge of child cruelty could not be proved to the required standard.

        “Some of this evidence was received by the CPS today, and we have acted as quickly as we could to take the necessary steps to release Mr and Mrs King from custody as soon as possible. We continue to work with the UK courts and Spanish authorities to progress matters as quickly as possible.

        hmmm seems it was the polices fault after all (kindly robbed type up from jerry 🙂 lol ) xx

      • and you are exactly right – received today. The police have only acted on information that has been given to them… they are not medical experts. My son had a very similar disease, neuroblastoma (same family) he relapsed in the brain and had a tumor the size of an orange there. I was amazed at the recovery period – 2 days later he was released from hospital!

        My point is this – do not blame the police – they did not apply for an EOP, they have acted only on information – they are not trained on medical conditions. I am a police officer. I have been fortunate and unfortunate enough to be in the same position as the Kings. I raised funds to take my child away for treatment, the NHS did not like it, they told us our child would be a guinea pig; it would cost us our home and everything we had;… but they also admitted our child would die if he stayed in the UK. We had no option, and told them they could apply for the EPO but we would be out of the country by the time they got it… and they knew we were heading for NYC (8H9 treatment).

        This family need our help, they have our support, but they need funds to pay for the treatment, but also accommodation, and living costs… they have asked no one to help them, they intended to sell their holiday home. I have tried to get in contact, we have a small police-run charity that is specifically set up to raise funds for things like this (because there is no other charity that will) but Mr. Kings son has already started a non-charity based fundraising pool which I’m sure is fine.. but I can’t help feeling they would raise so much more if it was through a dedicated charity. I do not insert the name of our charity because this is not a ‘sell’.

      • Ashamed to be British

        The police should never have got involved, it’s none of their business as no law was broken.

        Anyway, here’s how to contact the family and donate

        https://www.facebook.com/groups/1462059947403801/

      • Actually if a court issues an order it is the duty of the police to act on that order

      • Ashamedtobebritish

        I am more than well aware of the law, thank you

        My point was, the police should not have been involved because it’s not their business, because the order should never had been made, it didn’t come close to meeting the threshold, I hope that clarifies my position

  14. Pingback: Parents deciding not to go ahead with cancer tr...

  15. I wish the King family all the best . They are an amazing family with an equally amazing young neighbour. But in addition I also feel indebted to them for highlighting using YouTube video ..what is happening in these cases and how using the most dubious facts parents can find themselves arrested..The media should not forget about those other cases especially the case of the Welsh child taken at gunpoint from her-hospital bed in Florida.

  16. Our son had the same op + chemo + stem cell transplant + radiotherapy. At the same stage of his treatment, ie the week or 2 after his op he developed water on brain and needed a shunt fitting and also developed meningitis. Surely it is irresponsible to take a child on a road trip and a ferry trip so soon after surgery? I cant imagine any hospital would agree to a child being taken anywhere besides home if it was nearby in such circumstances.

    • Ashamedtobebritish

      Ask yourself … Take your child home to die or risk the flight heading for potential life saving treatment?
      Any normal parent would do what it takes to save their child and many do, they just don’t get hunted down and thrown in jail for it

      • What about chemotherapy? Stem cell transplant? And radiotherapy? Theres no evidence to suggest proton therapy works effectively on its own at all.

  17. What happened to Ashya is very unfair and it is a violation of a basic human right – the right to choose what medical treatment to have or the right to even refuse treatment.

    I think that it is very important for everyone to realise that because of the cancer act, 1939 (see the following link), people are ignorant of any natural alternative therapies for cancer and the mainstream media do not educate people about these therapies.

    http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v08n24.shtml

    Natural cancer therapies such as the Gerson therapy have quite high success rates treating various types of cancer. The following video talks about this.

    Cancer ‘Dying to Have Known’ – Independent Feature Documentary About the Gerson Cure for Cancer.wmv

    Another cancer treatment still under trial is Dr Burzynski’s anti-neoplastons, with which he has successfully treated brain cancer in a number of patients. His treatment is non-toxic. It really should be available on the NHS free of charge but unfortunately I do not see this happening.
    Brain Cancer Cured – Medulloblastoma – from “Burzynski, the Movie” http://www.burzynskimovie.com

    Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have lots of nasty, and often permanent, side effects. The outcome for the child in the above video would have been very different in a negative way if he received radiotherapy, as the video explains.

    When the damage to the child happens, it is the parents who have to suffer the costs, trauma and consequences. The child’s life would be permanently affected too. Meanwhile, the doctors, the drug companies, and even social services who were involved in enforcing the treatment, make money out of the parents’ suffering, and this is all in the name of protecting a child. This would have been the scenario in the case in the above link if it was not for the child going on Dr Burzynski’s treatment.

    In the video in the link below, there is a case of another child, who most likely would have had a much happier outcome if she went to Dr Burzynski’s treatment straight away instead of having the treatment with chemotherapy and radiation prescribed by the hospital.

    The Burzynski Movie Clip – Sgt. Schiff’s Testimony (Extended Scene)

  18. What happened to Ashya is very unfair and it is a violation of a basic human right – the right to choose what medical treatment to have or the right to even refuse treatment.

    I think that it is very important for everyone to realise that because of the cancer act, 1939 (see the following link), people are ignorant of any natural alternative therapies for cancer and the mainstream media do not educate people about these therapies.

    http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v08n24.shtml

    Natural cancer therapies such as the Gerson therapy have quite high success rates treating various types of cancer. The following video talks about this.

    Cancer ‘Dying to Have Known’ – Independent Feature Documentary About the Gerson Cure for Cancer.wmv

    Another cancer treatment still under trial is Dr Burzynski’s anti-neoplastons, with which he has successfully treated brain cancer in a number of patients. His treatment is non-toxic. It really should be available on the NHS free of charge but unfortunately I do not see this happening.
    Brain Cancer Cured – Medulloblastoma – from “Burzynski, the Movie” http://www.burzynskimovie.com

    Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have lots of nasty, and often permanent, side effects. The outcome for the child in the above video would have been very different in a negative way if he received radiotherapy, as the video explains.

    When the damage to the child happens due to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, it is the parents who have to suffer the costs, trauma and consequences. The child’s life would be permanently affected too. Meanwhile, the doctors, the drug companies, and even social services who were involved in enforcing the treatment, make money out of the parents’ suffering, and this is all in the name of protecting a child. This would have been the scenario in the case in the above link if it was not for the child going on Dr Burzynski’s treatment.

    In the video in the link below, there is a case of another child, who most likely would have had a much happier outcome if she went to Dr Burzynski’s treatment straight away instead of having the treatment with chemotherapy and radiation prescribed by the hospital.

    The Burzynski Movie Clip – Sgt. Schiff’s Testimony (Extended Scene)

    • These treatments have been found to be ineffective, theres no evidence to say they work

      • You should read some reviews on dr Burzynski and his clinic

      • Dear Jo,

        I read one of your previous comments where you talked about your son and I am very sorry to hear about what you had to go through. I hope all the best for you and your son.

        Regarding my previous comment, you replied “These treatments have been found to be ineffective, theres no evidence to say they work” and I do not believe that this is the case for the following reasons.

        As you can see in the Burzynski movie, there are many true testimonies of patients who got better from cancer, including medulloblastoma, after the treatment with anti-neoplastons.

        If you see the second video in my previous comment, you can see that Dustin Kunnari, who medulloblastoma then he was two years old, responded very well to the treatment of Dr Burzynski. The tumour never returned. In 2009 he was 18 years old and still tumour-free. The outcome for Dustin would have been very different in a negative way if he was not allowed to pursue this treatment, which you say is not evidence-based. There are many similar testimonies that cannot be dismissed as not being evidence.

        There are also many, many patients who recovered from various types of cancer after going on the Gerson therapy, without the crippling side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

        How can anyone dismiss all these testimonies without narrowing down the definition of evidence?

        Unfortunately, in my opinion there is a hierarchy as to how evidence is perceived in mainstream medicine. At the top of the hierarchy you have randomized, controlled trials as the gold standard, along with meta-analysis and systematic reviews. Such trials are very expensive, and favour the drug companies who can afford to carry them out, which results in a system of medicine where patients become dependent on pharmaceutical drugs.

        At the bottom of the hierarchy you have observational and clinical studies (i.e. observation and common sense data). I believe that this is why effective and cheaper natural alternatives are dismissed as not being ‘evidence-based’. The following links are interesting and informative.

        http://www.anh-europe.org/news/taking-the-shine-off-the-randomised-controlled-trials-gold-standard-for-evidence

        http://www.anh-europe.org/news/anh-intl-feature-healthcare-systems-are-broken-and-desperately-need-fixing

        The following example of the parachute protecting against gravity illustrates how absurd it can be to disregard observational and common sense data. The link and what I am about to say is satire but it illustrates an important point.

        Is it evidence-based that the parachute protects against gravity? Or do we need a double-blind placebo-controlled trial? Sounds dangerous to me! Check out the following link.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300808/

      • http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/12/10/even-after-the-usa-today-report-stanislaw-burzynski-manages-to-enlist-cancer-patients-to-his-cause/

        The movie you refer to is a marketing movie. I would rather make a decision on treatment that may or may not save my childs life based upon actual scientific fact of children who have previously been treated.
        Its very important to make the right decision as your childs survival will depend on it and you may not get a second chance.

      • Ashamed to be British

        Where did you get this information from Jo?

      • If you look for scientific evidence that the Gerson therapy or Dr Burzynski’s treatment works, you wont find any. What you are citing is a ‘movie’ There are some very good groups for ‘Medulloblastoma survivors’ or ‘parents of children with Medulloblastoma’ on facebook. There is a lot of information on protocols of treatment available and a lot of links to scientific evidence. There are many knowledgeable people to talk to who have made these choices who will talk about the outcomes of their chosen treatment protocols.

  19. Sorry, I made a typing error in my previous comment because I typed it quickly. It should have read “Dustin Kunnari, who had medulloblastoma when he was two years old” instead of “Dustin Kunnari, who medulloblastoma then he was two years old”.

    You might find the full version of the Dr Burzynski movie interesting.

    Dr Burzynski movie (FULL VERSION).flv

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/burzynski-the-movie-cancer-is-serious-business/

    You might also find the following link by Dr Mercola interesting. Dr Mercola is a leading natural health practitioner in the USA.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/19/cancer-doctor-burzynski.aspx

  20. I have just been looking at the following video about Charlotte Gerson, the lady who founded the Gerson institute. She is 92. She is the daughter of Dr Max Gerson, who started the Gerson Therapy. She seems to be in a very good shape for her age!!

    Charlotte Gerson fractures pelvis

    There are many positive testimonies for various types of cancer with the Gerson Therapy. However, as far as I know, it is not very successful with brain cancer and medulloblastoma. Dr Burzynski has some good testimonies when it comes to brain cancer and medulloblastoma.

    Natural therapies are often shunned as not being evidence-based due to these therapies often lacking clinical trials, despite a lot of positive observational and common sense data. However, after reading the quote below in The Independent, it seems to me that radiotherapy is on the same boat as many natural therapies when it comes to there being a lack of clinical trials.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/ashya-king-inside-the-czech-proton-therapy-centre-9715200.html

    From the above newspaper article in The Independent:
    “A deeper suspicion towards proton beam therapy comes from what some radiation oncologists see as a lack of hard evidence that it works as well as the photon beams of conventional radiotherapy. Some have pointed to the need for clinical trials before changing existing policy.
    But Pavel Lastovka is dismissive: “We keep having requests for clinical trials. But clinical trials were not done with conventional radiotherapy, ever. If you have a child with medulloblastoma, you would never want to carry out a clinical trial on your child when you know a treatment has fewer side effects,” Mr Lastovka said.
    “You do not need a clinical trial to know what will happen when you step out of a plane without a parachute. It’s the same situation. We know what happens when you use photons compared with protons,” he said.”

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