Monday, 1 September 2014

The Ashya King debacle

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?


Demetrius said...

In situations where there is no right answer then what is needed is to take the one that is least worst. But that is often very difficult. Where the situation is complex and with unpredictables all should tread with care. In such cases the blame game should be avoided as well as ticking boxes or resorting to fixed systems. Putting police in the pole position is not the right way at best they can only support.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - yes and Ashya's parents may have seen proton beam therapy as the least bad option.

James Higham said...

Missed this one completely, so learning here.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry about your loss. Yes, this seems a true debacle, all involved pulling up drawbridges and covering arses. I watched the hospital's 'spokesperson' delivering their statement and got the sense of 'careful speaking'. Whenever I see a spokesperson I regret to say I always think 'professional liar'. Now, we don't know all the facts, but it seems surprising that the police see fit to pursue the extradition order - should have thought that would have been dropped by now. So, intriguing to see how this unravels.

A K Haart said...

James - on the surface it's appalling, but maybe there are nuances.

Roger - thanks and yes, I get the feeling that there are things still to come out into the open. I sense gross official mishandling but we'll see.

Macheath said...

'gross official mishandling' sounds quite likely.

I've been asking myself whether someone in authority could really have been so short-sighted as to order a European Arrest Warrant for its power to locate the family without realising that he or she was setting in motion a vast and unswervable legal Juggernaut that would forcibly separate a seriously ill child from his parents until its progress is complete - sadly, I fear the answer may well be 'yes'.

How quick our politicians would have been to condemn depriving the child of his family if a foreign regime were responsible!

A K Haart said...

Mac - yes I suspect someone in authority really was that shortsighted. It couldn't have happened twenty years ago.