About twenty years ago our daughter died from a brain tumour, so the story of Ashya King is a sombre reminder of how acutely painful things must be for his parents.
Not only that, but we were faced with much the same dilemma about proton beam therapy. In those days it was being used by an American hospital and at the time of our daughter’s illness a UK girl’s parents raised enough money to try it as their last resort.
Sadly it didn’t work and that little girl died, but no doubt many technical improvements have been made in twenty years. The medical advice we were given suggested proton beam therapy had no real prospect of success for our daughter. The limited researches we were able to carry out tended to confirm that.
So our daughter was given Temozolomide which was then an unlicensed but promising drug. We think it certainly added a few months to her life.
So how do the police become involved in such an impossibly difficult situation? How does it help Ashya’s parents even if the UK medical advice was right and proton beam therapy has no prospect of success? How does it help Ashya?
No doubt the errors of judgment and the nuances will come out soon enough, but it is surely appalling that they have to come out in a Spanish court. As far as I can see his parents merely wanted another roll of the dice, hoping to tilt the odds in Ashya's favour – just a little.
Who can blame them?