Ashya King case

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The Ashya King case concerns a boy named Ashya King, who suffered from a brain tumour. His parents, Brett and Naghemeh King, took their son out of Southampton General Hospital (England) in August 2014 over a disagreement with doctors regarding his treatment.[1]

King had a medulloblastoma, which was successfully removed through surgery on 24 July 2014. He received further neurosurgery on 22 August.[1]

King's parents desired their son be treated with proton therapy, which they felt was less harmful than conventional radiotherapy.[2] At that time the National Health Service (NHS) did not provide proton therapy in the United Kingdom, however it has funded treatment abroad since April 2008 where evidence has shown there to be benefit.[3] In this case the doctors did not support moving the boy so that he could get proton therapy, and in response, on 28 August 2014, the parents took their son out of the hospital without telling the medical team and boarded a ferry to France.[2]

On 28 August 2014, an international manhunt for King and his parents commenced.[4] On 30 August, King and his parents were found in Velez Malaga, Spain. King's parents were arrested and their son was sent to a local hospital for urgent treatment.[5] They were held in prison for more than 24 hours and released when the request to extradite them to the United Kingdom was withdrawn.[1][6]

The issues about treating the boy were brought to the High Court to be resolved, and on 5 September 2014, the court ruled that King could receive proton therapy in Prague.[7] Doctors from Southampton General Hospital said the treatment would have the same side effects as conventional radiotherapy.[7] On 9 September, King arrived at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, where he underwent proton beam therapy.[1][4]

In March 2015, Brett King said that a brain scan showed no evidence that Ashya had a brain tumour.[1][8]

A 2015 report reviewing the case stated that King's parents' decision to deny their child chemotherapy had reduced his chances of survival by 30 percent.[9] Reviews also called on health providers to do a better job communicating with parents.[10][11]

In 2016, following the publication of a prospective phase II trial[12] the NHS decided it will pay for children with medulloblastoma to travel abroad to receive proton therapy.[13][7]

In 2018, MRI scans conducted in Southampton showed Ashya to be free of cancer.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Brain tumour boy Ashya King free of cancer, parents say". BBC News. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b O'Brien, A.; Sokol, D. K. (10 September 2014). "Lessons from the Ashya King case". British Medical Journal: g5563. doi:10.1136/bmj.g5563.
  3. ^ "'NHS England: NHS Commissioning: Highly Specialised Services: Proton beam therapy'". Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Ashya King's father says U.K. boy cancer-free after Prague treatment that led to manhunt". CBC News. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  5. ^ Khomami, Nadia (30 August 2014). "Parents arrested as missing Ashya King found by police in Spain". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  6. ^ Judgment and Family Court Orders in the matter of Ashya King
  7. ^ a b c Boseley, Sarah (5 September 2014). "Ashya King given legal go-ahead for cancer treatment in Prague". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Ashya King 'is cancer free and back at school' says dad three years after brain tumour treatment row". Mirror. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Ashya King's parents hit back at report which claims they 'reduced his survival chances by 30 per cent'". The Daily Telegraph. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Ashya King's removal from hospital 'put him at risk', report finds". BBC News. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  11. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (24 September 2015). "Parents of Ashya King put him at risk, report says". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  12. ^ Yock, T.; et al. (29 January 2016). "Long-term toxic effects of proton radiotherapy for paediatric medulloblastoma: a phase 2 single-arm study". The Lancet Oncology. 17 (3): 287.
  13. ^ "Proton beam therapy 'effective' and 'causes fewer side effects'". NHS. 1 February 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  14. ^ Adams, Joel (3 March 2018). "Ashya King cleared of cancer three years after his parents abducted him from hospital for treatment abroad". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 29 April 2018.