U.K. graciously declines to charge parents arrested for trying to save their child’s life

posted at 6:41 pm on September 2, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Those liberal media outlets who view their mission as advancing the proposition that a single payer nationalized health care system is superior to the American system (ahem, Vox) are often guilty of appealing to positive anecdotes about the care provided in nations like Canada and England in order to make their case. But in the war of dueling anecdotes, there is ammunition available to both sides of the debate.

The latest Orwellian horror emerging from a national health care system comes out of Britain, and it is a doozy. A U.K. couple was recently arrested after they pulled their 5-year-old son, who is struggling with a terminal brain tumor, out of a British hospital. The couple fled with their son to France and later Spain in the desperate search for a specific therapy for their dying son.

In a video message taped just hours before his arrest in Spain, Brett King, the father of cancer-stricken Ashya King, issued an emotional plea for care for his son. He noted that, while their son’s tumor had been removed, the Southampton hospital where they received treatment refused to honor the Kings’ request for proton beam therapy that would have to be performed outside the country. British National Health Service approved only post-surgical radiation treatment for Ashya, in spite of the fact that King insisted that he would pay for expensive and experimental therapy with his own funds.

The family fled when King said that the NHS doctors threatened to impose a restraining order on him which would have prevented him from seeing his dying son. “They also told him that his Internet research was flawed, and that he should not consult the Internet but instead trust the NHS doctors at face value,” The Daily Beast reported.

“We couldn’t take it any more, the not knowing and not being able to question anything in fear that they say, ‘Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. King, emergency protection order, you’re no longer allowed in the ward,’” King said while cradling his son in a video plea. “Under that stress, our son has grade four brain tumor, we couldn’t discuss or question them at all in fear that our son would be in that ward all day long by himself without his parents being able to come in. We couldn’t be under that system any more.”

A European manhunt ensued and the Kings were both arrested. The U.K. suggested the couple could face charges of “cruelty.”

“All of our efforts resulted from explicit medical advice that Ashya’s life was in danger,” Britain’s Hampshire Constabulary Assistant Chief Chris Shead told reporters.

Facing a significant backlash after their weekend arrest and extradition back to England, Brett and his wife, Naghmeh King, were informed on Tuesday that the U.K. would decline to charge them with neglect or kidnapping as a result of their attempt at seeking life-saving care for their son.

“I welcome the prosecution against Ashya King’s parents being dropped,” Prime Minster David Cameron wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “It’s important this little boy gets treatment and the love of his family.”

This is a grotesque tale, but it is also a familiar one. It was only King’s savvy attempt to turn his son’s struggles into an international cause célèbre that resulted in the ability to escape prosecution and draw the attention of the prime minister. Many more anonymous British care-seekers are not so lucky.

For all those who lament that the private insurance model leaves too many Americans hostages to substandard care, it does not seek to “solve” that problem by dooming everyone else to sharing the same fate.


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I think there are other life dimensions now, and we have all landed in one – the Socialist nightmare dimension.

faraway on September 2, 2014 at 6:47 PM

The family fled when King said that the NHS doctors threatened to impose a restraining order on him which would have prevented him from seeing his dying son. “They also told him that his Internet research was flawed, and that he should not consult the Internet but instead trust the NHS doctors at face value,” The Daily Beast reported.

“We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”

Bitter Clinger on September 2, 2014 at 6:50 PM

The Allies won World War II only to lose the peace.

rbj on September 2, 2014 at 6:52 PM

Wow, a good piece from Rothman.

bluegill on September 2, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Even if they are clinically incorrect (plenty of back & forth on this one, admittedly):
How DARE the UK insist upon what is right for this boy, if the parents want to do what they can for him?

As a cancer specialist, a father, and a spectator to the menace that is ObamaCare: I shudder at the thought of what we will experience as a nation in the next 20 years.

It won’t be over quickly. And you will not enjoy it.
Thanks, libs.
Remind me to smack one of you in the head with a board some time, to convey my appreciation.

orangemtl on September 2, 2014 at 6:57 PM

The filter will not allow me to express my rage sufficiently.

And you jackwads want that HERE?

Cleombrotus on September 2, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Socialist utopias always require a measure of blood and death.

squint on September 2, 2014 at 7:01 PM

bluegill on September 2, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Unwow, another stupid spew from the hagfish.

cozmo on September 2, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Two comments:
1) This is one reason I never had kids
2) this is one reason I carry.

Tard on September 2, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Soon, Lord .. Please.

pambi on September 2, 2014 at 7:20 PM

The filter will not allow me to express my rage sufficiently.

And you jackwads want that HERE?

Cleombrotus on September 2, 2014 at 7:00 PM

It’s happened here, the Justina Pelletier case.
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/24/report-judge-rules-to-put-justina-pelletier-in-foster-care/

Justina was being treated at a top flight Boston hospital when the state of Massachusetts decided they didn’t like that treatment and essentially kidnapped her.

rbj on September 2, 2014 at 7:24 PM

You can tell that John Q is a huge hero of the left……look how many they’re creating.

antipc on September 2, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Coming soon to a hospital near you.

Unless the word “repeal” becomes a big part of our lives.

formwiz on September 2, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Not surprisingly, the article failed to mention that the proton therapy for the boy’s disease had no solid evidence of effectiveness.

The real issue here is how the government allows and recognizes quack practitioners (naturopaths, homeopaths) as “equally valuable” as MDs, but at the same time the government can charge parents medical neglect of their children should they use the nostrums. You could also be arrested for impersonating a doctor, but if you’re a homeopathic practitioner? Nah, you’re good.

These kinds of stories are going to become a lot more common, now that the quacks have found loopholes in the ObamaCare law.

DevilishSoda on September 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

“All of our efforts resulted from explicit medical advice that Ashya’s life was in danger,”

When the elite are backed against the wall with unfavorable publicity, they change their tune.

Pity the cops did not NAME the person who gave them faulty information.

GarandFan on September 2, 2014 at 7:37 PM

They could sack the bureaucrats making those decisions but there would more to step in and do the same thing. Socialized medicine is fatal.

TfromV on September 2, 2014 at 7:46 PM

A private practice got on those proton beam thingys (that’s a technical term) They had to shut down the road and lower into a building that built specifically for the equipment.

Cindy Munford on September 2, 2014 at 8:06 PM

DevilishSoda on September 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Even if it was experimental, these folks were willing to pay for it.

Cindy Munford on September 2, 2014 at 8:08 PM

We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

lel2007 on September 2, 2014 at 8:08 PM

Hey if a muzzie is involved, everyone has to back down, specially in the UK.

burrata on September 2, 2014 at 8:16 PM

libfreeordie would have charged the parents with attempted murder.

Socratease on September 2, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Hmmm and I thought choice was the ultimate goal. I guess not. FU Libbies.

CW on September 2, 2014 at 9:01 PM

The real issue here is how the government allows and recognizes quack practitioners (naturopaths, homeopaths) as “equally valuable” as MDs, but at the same time the government can charge parents medical neglect of their children should they use the nostrums. You could also be arrested for impersonating a doctor, but if you’re a homeopathic practitioner? Nah, you’re good.

These kinds of stories are going to become a lot more common, now that the quacks have found loopholes in the ObamaCare law.

DevilishSoda on September 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Doctors are not infallible and many of them are no better than quacks. Any doctor for instance that prescribes a low fat diet and statins for heart health is an idiot who is parroting incorrect advice without bothering to do one iota of independent research.

Wendya on September 2, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Hmmm and I thought choice was the ultimate goal. I guess not. FU Libbies.

CW on September 2, 2014 at 9:01 PM

“Choice” is always their ultimate goal – as long as the “choice” you make is always the “choice” that Leftists believe you should make. Any “choice” that Leftists believe you shouldn’t make requires that you be punished.

I find it sadly funny how Leftists believe those on the Right are fascists. You should see the looks of surprise I get when I explain that the person in literature who epitomizes someone farthest Right is actually Hawkeye, from Last of the Mohicans: just let me alone to live my life the way I want, so long as I leave everyone else alone too.

A Leftist cannot do this, because his religion absolutely forbids it.

Wanderlust on September 2, 2014 at 10:30 PM

orangemtl on September 2, 2014 at 6:57 PM

IIRC, those who starred in the movie Lorenzo’s Oil supported Obamacare. Cognitive dissonance abounds…

Wanderlust on September 2, 2014 at 10:32 PM

If the father’s internet research was wrong about the effectiveness of proton beam therapy, then so are Mayo and Mass Gen/Harvard.

PKO Strany on September 2, 2014 at 10:51 PM

If the father’s internet research was wrong about the effectiveness of proton beam therapy, then so are Mayo and Mass Gen/Harvard.

In point of fact, there are, I believe 14 proton facilities running, or in development across the country. One well-known one, in a western state, advertises in ALL FIFTY states about their prostate treatment.

Why?
Because it costs a LOT. And gets reimbursed, so far, REALLY well.
Mayo and Mass General have them, and it’s useful for some brain tumors. So, too are Gamma Knife, Cyberknife, and stereotactic radiotherapy. Proton beam is a science geek’s delight: But while protons versus standard radiation were once comparing a Yugo to a Ferrari, now it’s Ferrari versus Maserati, Porsche and Audi. And they all do about the same thing, about as well, for about as long.

The push for proton therapy is obvious: If it was MY $200 million in that thing, you bet I’d want to pay it off. Which is a lousy reason to build and use one. I have this discussion a few times weekly with men considering various options for prostate cancer. “Y’know, my son-in-law saw this ad from ***** ***** Cancer Center about this proton beam thing, and they say it’s the best there is. Whaddya think, Doc?”
I think that it’s the therapeutic equivalent of a gold-plated, solar powered spoon. The plain one works equally well, for less.

All of that said: The parents should have the right to pursue their own chosen options, contradictory therapeutic arguments, or not. He is THEIR child. Not property of The State.

orangemtl on September 2, 2014 at 11:14 PM

This is incredibly frightening.

karra on September 3, 2014 at 5:10 AM

Don’t think it can happen here. . . . then Google the name “Justina Pelletier” and let me know what you find.

sjoseph371 on September 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

For posts like this- I miss the “Like” button. Used to be a sneaky way for me to share this with my brainwashed friends on FB without posting it on my wall.

Book on September 3, 2014 at 11:27 AM

NHS message: “Doctors are gods, are always correct, and must be obeyed in all things. You foolish mortals must not question or seek alternatives to their edicts, or you shall be punished with a thousand years of giant scorpion robots!” (Okay, so I got a bit carried away with the giant scorpion robots thing – been watching too much Anime lately.)

Comic relief aside, it is worthy of our concern that we have already seen some of this kind of attitude and behavior in the US medical system. Bringing government bureaucrats into the mix, we can expect more of this and more fascist-style enforcement from HHS as ObamaCare finally kicks in fully.

Freedom was a nice thing I once enjoyed in the USA. As the old song says, “nothing good ever lasts forever”. :(

s1im on September 3, 2014 at 2:10 PM