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Compliance, consent and responsibility.

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Mark Russell, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    The case of the missing youngster who was taken from a UK hospital by his parents where he was undergoing Rx for a brain tumour raises a number of interesting questions for both the medical professions and the judiciary. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/aug/31/ashya-king-hampshire-police-defend-international-hunt

    The boy was under the case of the oncology unit at Southampton General and there appears to be some conflict between the medics and the parents which was unresolved. The parents removed the boy from the hospital before travelling to Spain where they had a second home and from there they intended to travel to the Czech Republic to have proton beam therapy, which can have some advantages over conventional radiotherapy, especially in children. The hospital authority contacted the police who issued a European Arrest Warrant and the parents were detained this evening in Spain and were expected to be extradited tomorrow back to the UK. The boy remains in hospital in Spain, separated from his parents - as does the other siblings who have travelled with the family.

    Clearly, there are instances - religious or cultural grounds - where parents can refuse medical intervention and the authorities can do little to overturn their decision, but in this case, where disagreements on what care might be best for the child, it would seem that medics and/or hospital management can procure the full resources of the police - nationally and internationally - to apprehend and detain parents as and when circumstances dictate. If the NHS cannot provide the best Rx available, should they prevent the parents - or any patient - from seeking that care elsewhere?

    Would be interested to hear your views...
  2. blinda

    blinda MVP

    The child was not rendered a ward of state, so the "authoritative bodies" were misguided in their actions, at best.

    This family's religious/cultural background had absolutely no bearing whatsoever on their decision to seek appropriate medical treatment that is not currently available on the nhs. They were fulfilling their "parental responsibilty" to make health care decisions for their children, based on what they feel is in a child’s “welfare” or “best interests" (DoH guidelines).

    Should we question the actions and motives of appointed authoritative bodies?
  3. Absolutely. I find the actions of the police and NHS incredible here - it's not as if the parents were refusing medical intervention for a critically ill child, rather they were seeking Rx the NHS were unable or unwilling to provide. Having re-read Nineteen Eighty-Four recently, it seems that Orwell's vision has been surpassed with ease!

    Not an easy area though. What happens when the shoe is on the other foot and parents subject their child to medical/surgical procedures directed by their own culture/religion - e.g. FGM?
  4. blinda

    blinda MVP

  5. Good article by Suzanne Moore in the Guardian again.


    Attached Files:

  6. And Sarah Boseley

  7. Mr C.W.Kerans

    Mr C.W.Kerans Active Member

    I think the complete story has yet to be told about this situation. My immediate thought is about the child's welfare - was removing him from hospital in Southampton so soon after surgery in his best interest? What was the timeline for commencing the proton beam therapy to optimise the child's prognosis? Why were the hospital staff who had treated the child in Southampton so concerned about his welfare that they felt obliged to involve the police? There are a number of troubling and thought-provoking issues raised, and I feel the full picture has yet to be revealed.

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