Mum whose son had proton therapy defends Ashya’s family

Fleckney mum Ros Barnes, with her ten-year-old son Alex, who had successful proton therapy treatment in Florida in 2007
Fleckney mum Ros Barnes, with her ten-year-old son Alex, who had successful proton therapy treatment in Florida in 2007

A brain therapy campaigner from the district has hit out at the treatment of the King family in their brain tumour treatment row with doctors.

Brett and Naghemeh King have made national headlines after being detained by police in Spain, after taking five-year-old Ashya, who has a brain tumour, from a Southampton hospital against medical advice.

They have since been released from a Spanish prison.

The Kings were seeking to raise money to allow them to get cutting-edge proton therapy treatment for their son which is not available in this country.

But Ros Barnes, from Fleckney, whose own son Alex had the treatment in America, has condemned the hospital and the police for turning the disagreement between the Kings and the hospital into a national drama.

She said: “This situation should never have come about – it’s just ridiculous.

“There’s clearly been a big clash of personalities and a big breakdown in communications between the King family and the staff at Southampton hospital. And calling in the police was ludicrous.”

Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg seemed to agree with Ros.

He told the BBC throwing the full force of the law at a couple who removed their child from hospital in the UK to seek alternative treatment abroad was not appropriate.

Ros said she had drawn two conclusions from the King saga; British doctors can be too dictatorial, and British hospitals are now lagging way behind on modern treatments.

Ros said: “I really do believe some doctors have this God complex going on.

“A worried and well-informed couple like the Kings are actually entitled to have an opinion,”

As for the proton therapy centres themselves, Ros said Britain was trailing behind on this potentially life-saving treatment.

She pointed out it was available not just in America, but also in countries as diverse as France and the Czech Republic.

“France has had proton therapy treatment since 2001,” she said.

“It’s not just children who can benefit from this treatment, but adults as well.

“I’m convinced the money is available for proton centres in Britain, but there’s too much politics in the NHS, and not enough forward thinking.”

Ros’s son Alex Barnes was given proton therapy in 2008, to kill brain tumour cells.

The treatment was carried out in the United States, after funds were raised to send Alex for treatment abroad. He has since been given the “all clear”.

Since his operation in 2008 his mum Ros has been campaigning to make the treatment available in the UK.

It is not likely to be available in Britain until 2018.