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Hospital has no regrets over Ashya King's treatment

By Jennifer Cockerell

Published 10/04/2015

Brain tumour: Ashya King
Brain tumour: Ashya King

Staff at the hospital where brain cancer sufferer Ashya King was treated before he was taken abroad by his parents have spoken about the "outpouring of hatred" they received - but said they would act in the same way if it happened again.

Medics at Southampton General Hospital told how the torrent of abuse basically shut down the hospital's switchboard after it "became a story of a hospital who was chasing down a family".

One doctor said he received hate mail from someone telling him they wished his own children would get cancer and die.

The hospital came under the glare of the world's media last August after Ashya's parents took him abroad for treatment against the advice of the NHS specialists who had been caring for him in Southampton.

A major manhunt for the family was launched after Brett and Naghmeh King took the boy from the hospital without consent, leading to fears he could die without the specialist care he had been receiving in hospital.

At the time Ashya could not swallow and had to be fed through his nose, but the couple announced last month that he has now made a "miracle" recovery after receiving proton beam therapy in Prague.

Matron Kate Pye said she would call the police again if put in the same situation.

"They put him at huge risk," she said of Ashya's parents.

"And if you asked me again, 'Would I phone the police?' the answer would be 'yes' every time.

"Because if something had happened to that little boy in that car, then we would have been accountable for that."

Paediatric intensive care consultant Dr Peter Wilson said the NHS Trust's decision to pay for the proton therapy after Ashya had left the UK had left him and his colleagues in a difficult position because it was not the course of treatment recommended.

The NHS later agreed to fund Ashya's treatment in Prague.

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