Time running out for 'kidnapped' brain tumour boy

Cherbourg - British and French authorities were racing against time on Friday to find a desperately ill five-year-old boy with a brain tumour who officials believe was "kidnapped" from hospital by his family.

Ashya King's parents took him on Thursday from hospital in the southern British city of Southampton without doctors' consent and boarded a ferry to the French port of Cherbourg on the same day.

It is not yet known why Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, took their son and while they are Jehovah's Witnesses, the movement said on Friday there was no indication their decision was motivated by religious convictions.

"It is vital that we find Ashya today. His health will deteriorate rapidly," Chris Shead, a spokesperson for police in Hampshire, southern England, told reporters.

"Ashya is in a wheelchair and is fed through a tube. The feeding system is battery operated and that battery will run out today," he said.

"Time is running out for this little boy. We need to find him and we need to find him urgently."

According to Eric Bouillard, a prosecutor in Cherbourg, Ashya's life is in danger if he does not get medical treatment within 12 hours.

In a statement, the hospital in Southampton said Ashya was allowed to leave the ward under his parents' supervision and hospital staff raised the alarm when the length of his absence "became a cause of concern".

"The information we have received from his medical team at Southampton General Hospital is that he must continue to be fed via a tube by someone with the relevant medical training," Shead said.

"If he doesn't receive urgent medical care, or the wrong treatment is given, his condition will become life-threatening."

Plea to his parents

Bouillard told AFP authorities believed he was "kidnapped given the circumstances of his departure from hospital".

"For the moment, what we most want to do is contact the family," he added.

Jehovah's Witnesses are known for refusing blood transfusions on religious grounds, but they are otherwise open to other medical procedures.

The religious movement confirmed on Friday that the parents are members.

"However, we are not aware of the facts of the case nor the reasons for the family's medical choices which are personal decisions," it said in a statement.

"There is absolutely no indication, as far as we are aware, that their decision is in any way motivated by any religious convictions. Jehovah's Witnesses are encouraged to seek the best medical treatment for themselves and their children."

Appealing directly to the family, Shead said: "Our message to you is, 'Please take Ashya to the nearest hospital immediately.'"

"We understand this must be an awful time for you but the most important thing is to get the proper medical care for Ashya. Please work with us to provide Ashya that care."

French authorities told AFP the family arrived on Thursday night with their seven children and were driving a grey Hyundai with the number plate KP60 HWK.

The other six children are between three and 22 years old. A phone number - 0800 35 83 35 - has been set up for anyone with information.

Read more on: ashya king france health
Jane Longmuir 2014-08-29 07:47:44 PM
Really don't know how any parent can do this to their child, beggars belief, but then again when you don't believe in blood transfusions even though they save lives, you have to wonder what was going through their minds! Hope he is found quickly before it's too late, poor little guy :(
John Botes 2014-08-29 11:23:05 PM
my prayers go out to this young lad and his family. It is not yet known why they have done this, but everyone is attacking them, questioning their religion, and assuming the worst of them. Will media 24 update us on this story if tomorrow it is found that they were taking their child to seek help from another hospital? Or to get a second opinion? Will this lad get medical help if his parents are turned into fugitives by the media? I was in hospital 4 weeks ago having a back op to allow me to walk again. The ward is locked, you dont just walk in and steal a patient. Is the hospital printing this to cover themselves for loosing a patient, or letting the parents take their terminaly ill child home without filling in the relice forms? This story lacks certain details and seems to cast a negative lite on Jehovahs witneses, rather than give details like, where were the hospital staff during this time? Is it a common thing for patients religions to be mentioned when they leave this hospital without the doctors approval? How many patients leave that hospital yearly without being discharged? And does news 24 write a story for each one? The line between freedome of speech, freedome of expression, freedome of the press, and deformation is very fine. If you care for this lad and his brothers, sisters, and parents, show compassion and help them, dont judge them.
Nadine Maree 2014-08-30 12:59:35 AM
Ignorance on all levels. From you, the hospital the comentators and the reporters. We dont need justification, we are not owed anything by news 24. Freedom of expression allows the hospital and news 24 to state things from their point of view. Whilst I dont agree with, but understand JW convictions and stance on blood, I cant imagine that this is their reason for taking the kid away from care. There must be more to the story. People will judge, because they dont know, and have the right to be concerned and to speculate. At the end of the day, we must all remember that these are parents, and more likely than not they love their child. The medical institutions are known to disrespect individual choice and override our concent or reffusal of procedures. Whether you agree or not, no one may force their will upon you. These parent will need to live with their choice however this situation plays out. Who are we to judge?
Candice Cands 2014-08-30 07:10:26 AM
U my friend need all the prayers u can get!
Nadine Maree 2014-08-30 09:12:06 AM
I dont know what you are on about. These days they do bloodless surgeries, they can do with no red blood cells in the plasma. Look guy, I've seen how you argue with everyone on news 24 about everything. You force your opinions down everyone's throught like you have nothing better to do with your time. I often read the crap you spew and wonder where is your compassion, your humanity? I also cannot stand incompetence, I too can't understand why people choose to believe in age old stories. But they have the right to believe what ever they want. Your opinion on their beliefs is so irrelevant and just a waste of your time. There are billions of people on earth. None of us are the same, or believe the same things. Most humans die because of what they choose to believe. This is really both a good and bad thing. Think about that for a second. Instead of resisting what people believe, instead of forcing your opinion on all, why don't you rather channel your energy by focussing on the good things in life. Accept that we are a very diverse species. And that's OK. The freedom you have to be who you are must be afforded to one and all, and no, we dont need to like it, agree with it, or understand it. We merely need to respect it, and let it be.
Nadine Maree 2014-08-30 09:28:23 AM
One more thing. These religious people all worship a supreme being. You seem to worship your ego. Man your ego is massive! You just have to correct everyone everywhere all the time! Like you have some magical incapability to be wrong. Like your words are so powerful it will immediately convert all those who read them. You have a god complex! The very thing you are so much aganst you have become. You say that it offends you that religion makes people stupid and then the make stupid decisions, you say it asif that is what your problem with religion is, asif, you care about these people.You dont! So stop judging their beliefs, stop pretending you care. Truth is simply, you want to express your god complex, thats all that you are about. There are many people like you, why dont you go hang out with them in real life instead of wasting your opinions on the people of N24.nyou are wasting your breath on this audience havent you noticed?
Nadine Maree 2014-08-30 11:08:37 AM
You make the assumption that I am religious. I am not. Then you voice your opinion on religion again, after ive pointed out how pointless it really is. Sooo basically, you hear what you want and see what you want but not that which is, which is more or less exactly what religious people do, so I really dont see you as any different to them.... except for maybe they have more heart and tolerance and common decency than you will ever have. you know what they say about assumptions dont you? Have a nice day now. Bye bye!