The moment we thought would come, has done so. During the time that the Kings were reunited with their son, who was diagnosed with a form of cancer in need of urgent treatment, and who subsequently went without the love and support of his parents for three days, in a foreign hospital on his own, because authorities deemed it necessary to arrest and detain his parents without just cause, we spoke to the BBC about why we felt the story was far from over, and why the actions of the professionals involved carried all the hallmarks of something rather less palatable than genuine concern for a little boy’s well being.
Ashya King cried like a wounded animal, we are told, until his parents were returned to his bedside.
This morning, the news tells us that The Kings were threatened with the removal of their child off the back of them wishing to explore other alternatives to the treatment on offer. Treatment which would leave their son with disabilities for the rest of his life.
The Kings detailed how one doctor told them that if they did not allow the hospital to treat Ashya, they would seek to remove their parental rights and go ahead with the treatment anyway.
The case will sound eerily familiar to anyone who works inside the child welfare sector. It carries all the hallmarks of a system gone rogue, unmanageable due to its sheer lumbering size, disjointed arms and resource strapped quarters, not to mention an ever falling standard of care.
In the interviews in which we spoke about the case we explained, despite some scepticism by interviewers, that the King’s ordeal sounded very much like the situations many of the families we assist find themselves in – desperate to do the best for their children, but constantly thwarted at every turn, by an ultra defensive system which seems to incubate a stronger strain of God Complex every day. Professional arrogance in this case, of which it has become apparent was a feature, is simply a symptom of a system manned by people under pressure, who often also happen to be not terribly good at the service they are supposed to be providing.
The hallmarks we identified were poor communication, hostility to new ideas and a defensive response to the family, which stems from a system that behaves more like a vulnerable person than a professional service provider. This is when families begin to take matters into their own hands, with many choosing to leave the country, looking for protection and better care, elsewhere. And who can blame them?
None of this of course excuses putting a child’s welfare on the line. The system needs to regroup and remember why it is there in the first place. It can no longer run roughshod over families and children, the stakes are too high.
As for Ashya King’s current treatment, the treatment the hospital in England wished to deny him, it has so far been very successful, and the Kings are delighted with Ashya’s progress.
And so to the Kings we say good luck, and go get ’em.