‘So their son can get the care…he needs’.
The TV reporter’s final line echoed the advice of Hampshire’s assistant chief constable – that Ashya King’s parents should return their five year old son to Southampton General Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for cancer and for the severe after-effects of a successful operation to remove a brain tumour.
The way the reporter signed off – his intonation, the grain of his voice – invited ‘Amen’ at the end; as if godlike status is due to the ineffable combination of Police and theNHS.
Brett and Neghemeh King believe in a different god: they are Jehovah’s Witnesses who removed son Ashya from Southampton hospital and took him to their holiday home in Spain. They hoped to sell this property and use the funds to pay for proton beam treatment in Prague – cancer treatment currently unavailable in the UK, which Southampton doctors declared would be useless in Ashya’s case.
But the abduction of Ashya became a top priority – for police officers as well as journalists. His parents were arrested in Spain on Saturday evening and sent to prison. Ashya is now alone in a Spanish hospital.
Far from sacred, the behaviour of UK ‘healthcare professionals’ invites profanity. In a different case, the mother of a boy who was eventually granted NHS funds for proton beam treatment in Oklahoma, USA, reported ‘a bit of a carrot-dangling situation’ in which she was informed that her son might get the grant but funding would be refused if a younger patient came along. In Ashya’s case, Brett King says he was warned about an emergency protection order – his son being taken into care – if he continued to question his treatment; this despite disagreement among Southampton doctors over ‘the Milan protocol’ of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.