Ashya King, a British child with a brain tumor who made headlines after his parents took him out of a UK hospital without permission and fled to Spain, is being taken to Prague for alternative treatment.
On Monday morning, the five-year-old was transported by ambulance from the Málaga children’s hospital to the airport, where a private medical jet was waiting to fly him to a Czech center that offers proton beam therapy, a treatment that his parents believe will be less harmful to the boy’s healthy tissue.
The ambulance arrived at the children’s hospital ER at 7am, and took Ashya out around an hour later. Several hospital workers and police officers put up a screen to protect the child from media attention as he was placed inside the vehicle.
The hospital said that both the British Council and the Málaga Attorney’s Office juvenile division are being kept abreast of the entire procedure.
Ashya’s father and the family lawyer drove behind the ambulance inside a taxi with tinted windows
Ashya’s father and the family lawyer drove behind the ambulance inside a taxi with tinted windows. The vehicles were headed for the airport’s non-commercial flight area, as the private aircraft has been chartered by the family.
On Sunday evening, the Andalusian health department and the Málaga hospital authorized the journey after determining that Ashya’s health will not be at risk. On Friday, a UK judge had decided that the child — who had become a ward of a family court — could travel to Prague for treatment following a telephone discussion with lawyers and hospital representatives.
Ashya’s parents, Brett and Naghemeh King, were arrested on August 28 at a small hotel in Vélez-Málaga, where the family had fled after taking their son out of Southampton Hospital and driving across France and Spain. The Kings later said they wanted to sell a property they have in southern Spain to raise funds for the treatment in Prague.
Their detention was a result of a European arrest warrant issued by UK authorities, who said the child’s life was at risk. A home video uploaded to YouTube by the family showed that they had taken life support equipment and batteries to last them several days. Ashya’s father claimed that Southampton doctors refused to offer their child proton beam therapy and threatened to take custody away if he continued to challenge their views.
The couple spent 72 hours in custody at a Madrid prison while Ashya was transferred to the children’s hospital in Málaga. Following a public outcry, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all charges against the Kings, who were released and allowed to be reunited with their son on Wednesday.