Mother says she's 'praying for miracle' after epileptic son denied cannabis oil medication by Home Office suffers life-threatening seizures

The 12-year-old boy is being pushed even further into a 'crisis situation', mother says

Eleanor Busby
Saturday 16 June 2018 12:14
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Mum of Billy Caldwell says he 'need his medicine back'

The mother of a severely epileptic boy says she's "praying for a miracle" after her 12-year-old son suffered two life-threatening seizures overnight after being denied cannabis oil medication.

A batch of the banned drug used to treat Billy Caldwell was confiscated from his mother, Charlotte Caldwell, at Heathrow Airport on Monday after a flight from Canada.

He was admitted into Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London on Friday after his seizures “intensified” without the medication.

Speaking this morning, Ms Caldwell called for the cannabis oil to be given back immediately after her son had been pushed further into a "crisis situation."

She said: "My little boy, my beautiful, sweet little boy, who has a life-threatening form of epilepsy, and one seizure can kill him, needs his medicine back today."

Ms Caldwell has said that her son was seizure-free for more than 300 days while on the medication.

Billy became the first person in the UK to receive a prescription for cannabis oil after his GP in Northern Ireland, Brendan O'Hare, began writing scripts.

But Dr O'Hare was summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials recently and told to stop.

Ms Caldwell made the trip to Toronto and back with her sick son to get a six-month supply - but the drugs were seized by border officials earlier this week.

Speaking outside of the hospital on Saturday, Ms Caldwell said the Home Office and the hospital team were working together to find a solution.

She said: "There is a lot of bureaucracy around this and we are working towards Billy getting his medicine.

"It is just one step at a time. But we are confident that the Home Office is working with us and we are going to get this done."

“We are praying for a miracle. We are just praying for a miracle," Ms Caldwell added.

On Friday night, the Home Office said it would "carefully consider" its options if the team treating Billy said a particular type of treatment was urgently required.

Former drugs minister Norman Baker described the confiscation as "inhumane".

He said: "It is cruel and inhumane to have seized cannabis oil from the mother of Billy Caldwell as the two arrived back at Heathrow.

"The seizures the boy is now suffering are ones directly caused by the government.

He added: "Billy should be allowed to be treated with cannabis oil without further delay and the government should commit to changing the official categorisation of cannabis to recognise its medicinal value."

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are deeply sympathetic to the extremely difficult situation that Billy and his family are in.

"Billy is in the care of medical professionals who are best placed to assess the care and treatment that he requires.

The Home Office is contacting Billy’s medical team. If the team treating Billy advise a particular course of urgent action, the Home Office will carefully consider what options are available to help facilitate that advice.”

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