Belfast Telegraph

Epileptic boy Billy Caldwell suffers seizure

He returned home to Northern Ireland on Thursday after being in London for three weeks receiving hospital treatment.

A 12-year-old boy with epilepsy at the centre of a campaign to see cannabis oil licensed for medicinal use in the UK has suffered a seizure.

Billy Caldwell returned home to Northern Ireland on Thursday evening.

He had been in London for three weeks, receiving medical treatment.

The Home Office gave Billy, who has a rare form of epilepsy, a short-term licence to allow him access to cannabis oil, which his mother Charlotte says helps to control his seizures.

Uncertainty over the medication in Northern Ireland had placed a question mark over his return earlier this week.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the Belfast Health Trust had secured a licence for medicinal cannabis and could administer the medication to Billy at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Billy is high-spectrum autistic. Every doctor on the planet knows that he should be having familiarity and order in his life – his toys, his garden, his bed, his home Charlotte Caldwell

However Ms Caldwell expressed frustration over the arrangement at a hospital which is a two-hour drive from their home in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

She emphasised that her son, who has also been diagnosed with autism, needs to be at home in familiar surroundings.

It is understood the negotiations are continuing within government to agree a long-term treatment plan for Billy.

On Friday a spokesman for Billy’s family said the 12-year-old had been taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast at 8.50am after suffering a seizure.

His family believe the seizure is due to stress and tiredness following the recent travel.

“Billy is high-spectrum autistic. Every doctor on the planet knows that he should be having familiarity and order in his life – his toys, his garden, his bed, his home,” said Ms Caldwell.

“Instead he’s being forced to endure the exact opposite.”

Earlier this week a department of health spokeswoman said: “The Department has authorised a 14-day emergency licence to the Belfast Trust to allow for the treatment of Billy Caldwell which replicates the arrangements of the emergency licence issued by the Home Office last month.

“All of these matters require careful consideration and involve clinical and legal considerations. The granting of the emergency licence today reflects the clinical need to ensure continuity of treatment for Billy, given his mother’s decision to bring him home.”

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