Ashya King: Parents claim doctor threatened to take the five-year-old away if they did not stop asking questions

Southampton General Hospital has denied its staff sought a court order

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The Independent Online

The parents of Ashya King have claimed doctors said they would lose their parental rights and that their son would be taken from them if they continued to ask questions about his treatment.

The couple said they were given conflicting information about their five-year-old's care.

When they did their own research and asked questions following surgery to remove a brain tumour at Southampton General Hospital they say they were threatened with losing their child, the Daily Mail reported.

“If you continue with these questions your rights to make decisions will be taken away from you,” one doctor was alleged to have told them.

“We will apply to the family court to have your parental rights removed and then we will give him any treatment we want.”

Brett and Naghmeh King said they pleaded with medical staff for Aysha to undergo proton beam therapy after they were told a course of radiotherapy would adversely affect his quality of life and possibly leave him with long-term side effects.

Ashya King's parents Brett and Naghmeh flew with him to Prague

They told the Daily Mail that the NHS formed its decision for treatment on the basis of survival rates and not quality of life.

Press officials at the hospital did not respond to calls from the Independent for further comment.

The Kings travelled to Europe and were arrested in Spain after they pulled Ashya out of care in a bid to reach the Czech Republic to receive the proton treatment. Now in Prague, the NHS has subsequently agreed to pay for the course of care oversees.

Southampton General Hospital has denied that its doctors ever threatened to seek a court order to remove the Kings’ rights to make decisions about Aysha’s care. It has defended its decision to recommend standard radiotherapy and chemotherapy and said its treatment plan for Ashya complied with NHS best practice guidelines for cancer care.

Naghmeh described her distress at being arrested as she tried get into an ambulance to accompany her son to hospital in Spain. One officer was reportedly overheard saying: “What sort of world do we live in where you take a sick child away from his mother”.

Criticism and public outcry over perceived "heavy handedness" of the police and prosecutors over the case led to a nationwide fund raising effort.

Doctors in Prague say his type of brain tumour has a 70 to 80 per cent survival rate and hope he will make a full recovery.

While pleased with his progress, his parents said their enforced separation had scarred the five-year-old, who now howls in protest if either of them steps away from his bedside.