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Wednesday 17th September 2014
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Ashya's Parents Given Treatment Plan Deadline

Thursday, 4th September 2014 12:43

The parents of cancer patient Ashya King have until Friday afternoon to submit a treatment plan to the High Court in the UK so a judge can rule on his current status as a "ward of court".

Ashya, who was taken out of Southampton General hospital by his parents Brett, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, against medical advice, is expected to see a cancer specialist later at Materno-Infantil Hospital in Malaga.

The couple have been told they cannot remove their five-year-old son from the Spanish hospital where he is currently receiving treatment.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said local authorities had been informed by British officials that his parents should not be allowed to take him away.

Sky's Europe Correspondent Robert Nisbet, in Malaga, said: "This is about the legal status of Ashya and who is responsible for him, and at the moment it is not his parents - it's the courts.

"He is a ward of court, and therefore his well-being and any treatment plan has to be approved by his legal guardian.

"The deadline is 4pm tomorrow for this therapy plan to be set - that is doctors and the family working out what is best for Ashya in terms of his treatment - and its costs, including whether the family can afford it."

The plan will be considered by Southampton General over the weekend ahead of a court hearing on Monday attended by medics from the hospital, Portsmouth City Council, lawyers representing both sides, and his parents, who will take part in the proceedings via a video link from Spain.

The couple saw their son for the first time on Tuesday when they were released from police custody in Spain, after being arrested on Saturday at a hostel in the town of Benajarafe, east of Malaga.

An international manhunt was launched after they fled the country with Ashya to mainland Europe in search of alternative proton beam therapy treatment in the Czech capital Prague.

They were freed after the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case against them amid a growing public backlash.

Speaking after spending the night at his son's bedside with his wife, Mr King said: "He couldn't breathe he was so happy. He was so pleased to see us. We're trying to be hopeful."

Mr King added: "He's not in such a good state as when we left him - spirit depressed since his parents left him. We'll do what it takes. Not much else to do."

The Proton Therapy Centre in Prague has said doctors in Southampton have agreed to refer Ashya to the clinic after two cycles of chemotherapy in the UK, which is likely to take several weeks.

A fundraising page set up to help pay for the therapy has so far raised more than £21,000, while Charity Kids'n'CancerUK said they have agreed to provide the £100,000 needed for the treatment, plus living costs, after donors pledged £35,000 in 24 hours.

Family friend Daniel Pusk, in Malaga, said the family had been "blown away" by the public support it had received.