Hairy Biker backs 'tumour' Albanian
TV's Hairy Biker Si King has offered to pay for the treatment of an Albanian man who was arrested at a hospital on suspicion of immigration offences after he attended with a suspected brain tumour.
Staff at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) called police after doctors decided that Lorenc Hoxha, 27, did not require urgent treatment.
The hospital said Mr Hoxha would have been given emergency treatment if it was deemed necessary and he attended as an outpatient following a referral from another centre.
It said police were only called after a number of Mr Hoxha's friends who were with him said they could not take responsibility for him.
Now TV personality King has stepped in.
He told the BBC's Look North: " I would willingly pay for it, of course I would.
"It's about humanity. It's not about a political point."
King said: "My fear for Lorenc is that he dies. He's 27 years of age.
"Whether he's an illegal immigrant or not, he's two years older than my eldest son. His life is completely ahead of him.
"That's not a civilised society that will let another human being die."
Mr Hoxha first went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead after suffering seizures.
A spokeswoman for the RVI said: " 'The Trust received a referral from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, for an outpatient neurosurgical appointment.
"On the 2nd June, a medical decision was made that his treatment wasn't immediately necessary or urgent and the patient was fit for travel and discharge to seek treatment in his own country.
" Following this decision, eight representatives from the Albanian community in Newcastle arrived on the ward.
"The representatives were assured that the patient was fit to leave and no treatment was required at this time. Had urgent intervention been called for, the Newcastle Hospitals would have provided it."
The spokeswoman added: " During this meeting it became clear that the patient had previously sought treatment in Greece but no operation had taken place.
"The group were aware that if none of them were prepared to take him home to their houses then the Trust would have to call the police."
She said: "The group were aware of this and given a number of opportunities to avoid such a situation but they made the decision that no-one wanted responsibility for the young man."
The spokeswoman said immigration officials had advised the hospital that Mr Hoxha had been deported in 2011.
Northumbria Police said in a statement: "On Tuesday, June 2, officers received a call from a staff member at the RVI informing police that a patient, who is an illegal immigrant, was about to be discharged from the hospital.
"The staff member had been advised to contact police by immigration services.
"Officers attended and arrested a 27-year-old man for an immigration offence.
"The arrest was made on behalf of immigration services and he was taken to Middle Engine Lane police station."
A spokesman said the man was released into the custody of immigration officers yesterday afternoon.