Ashya King’s father has explained why he and his wife took their desperately-ill son to Spain.
In a video posted on YouTube shortly before the Southsea couple were arrested, Mr King, a Jehovah’s Witness, said Ashya was doing well and explained that the family had decided to take him out of hospital to seek a cancer treatment called proton beam which is not available on the NHS.
Sitting on a bed with Ashya in his arms, Mr King said: ‘’We were most disturbed today to find that his face is all over the internet and newspapers and we have been labelled as kidnappers putting his life at risk, neglect.’’
Mr King said there had been ‘’a lot of talk’’ about the machine used to feed Ashya and whether they could make it work.
Hampshire Police had warned that the family might not be able to work the machine and that it would run out of battery power.
But in the video blog, Mr King said: ‘’As you can see there’s nothing wrong with him, he is very happy actually since we took him out of hospital.
‘’He has been smiling a lot more, he has very much been interacting with us.”
He said he wanted to explain why he and his wife took their son out of Southampton General Hospital on Thursday afternoon and, together with their six other children, caught a ferry from Portsmouth to France.
‘’But I just wanted to say very quickly why we took him out of the hospital” he said.
‘’The surgeon did a wonderful job on his head that took out the brain tumour, completely they reckon.
‘’But straight away afterwards he went into what’s called posterior fossa syndrome, which means very limited moving or talking or doing anything.’’
Mr King said he had spoken to specialists following Ashya’s surgery and had requested proton beam treatment, which was not available on the NHS, but that he would raise the money to pay for it.
Mr King said his son’s treatment seemed like ‘’trial and error’’ and he was told if he questioned the treatment the hospital would seek an emergency protection order.
He said: ‘’After that I realised I can’t speak to the oncologist at all, because if I actually ask anything or give any doubt I wasn’t in full accord with them, they were going to get a protection order which meant in his deepest, darkest hour I wouldn’t be there to look after him, and neither would my wife - they would prevent us from entering the ward.
‘’That’s such a cruel system I decided I to start looking at the proton beam myself.’’
He added: ‘’We decided to try and sort it out ourselves but now we’re refugees almost.
‘’We can’t do anything. The police are after us. The things we want to do to raise the money to pay for the proton beam, they’ve prevented it now.
‘’So my son is being treated and he’s doing fine. We’re very happy with his progress. We’re not neglecting him. He has everything he had in hospital.’’
Mr King said Ashya was ‘’responding so much better’’ than he did in hospital.
He added: ‘’I was going to get the money to pay for the proton beam therapy but they have prevented that now because the Spanish police are involved and I can’t do want I wanted to do.’’
Mr King urged police to call off ‘’this ridiculous chase’’.
‘’We’re not neglecting our son, he’s in perfectly good health,’’ he said.
‘’My son is smiling, he’s happy, we’re doing things as a family. We just want to be left in peace. He’s very sick. I just want to get on with his treatment. I’m not coming back to England if I cannot give him the treatment I want, which is proper treatment.
‘’I just want positive results for my son.’’
The video was posted on the YouTube channel of one of the couple’s sons, Naveed.
The case has demonstrated the desperate lengths some will go to in order to treat the seriously ill.
Ashya’s father, Brett King, said the family, stopped by police in Spain last night, was hoping to get to the Czech Republic, having been dismayed by attempts to treat his son on the NHS at Southampton General Hospital.
His parents, who were taken into custody, had been seeking proton beam radiotherapy - currently only available to treat eye conditions on the NHS in the UK.
Countries throughout Europe are, however, already using proton beam for a range of cancers in adults and children.
According to Cancer Research UK, the treatment differs from X-ray methods by aiming proton beams at cancers.
It works by sending charges into cancer cells, with doses of radiation aimed directly at the tumour.
At the same time, the treatment spares healthy tissue, particularly tissues and organs behind the tumour.
The treatment is popular because it has a lower risk of side effects, though others are concerned that the long-term impact of the nascent procedure is not yet known.
In the video blog posted on YouTube prior to his arrest in Spain, Mr King said he was prepared to raise the money to pay for his son’s treatment in Europe.
‘’Proton beam is so much better for children with brain cancer,’’ he said. ‘’It zones in on the area, whereby normal radiation passes right through his head and comes out the other side and destroys everything in his head.
‘’We pleaded with them (in Southampton) for proton beam treatment. They looked at me straight in the face and said with his cancer - which is called medulloblastoma - it would have no benefit whatsoever.
‘’I went straight back to my room and looked it up and the American sites and French sites and Switzerland sites where they have proton beam said the opposite, it would be very beneficial for him.
‘’Then I spoke to them again, I wrote a letter which he never responded to, saying OK - I will sell my property in order to pay for the proton beam.’’