Ashya's proton therapy treatment could start next week

Ashya King has arrived in Prague - and his proton treatment could start as early as Monday.

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Ashya's cancer therapy due to start today

Five year old Ashya King flew to the Czech Republic last week Credit: PA

Ashya King is due to start proton beam therapy in the Czech Republic today to treat his brain tumour.

The five-year-old from Southsea has been in the country for the last week for consultations.

His parents - Brett and Naghemeh King - took him out of Southampton General Hospital last month after a disagreement about his treatment.

Hospital Chief Executive's blog: 'I'm lost for words' over Ashya case

Fiona Dalton, Chief Executive, University Hospital Southampton

"In my personal blog, I will keep you up to date on what is happening at the Trust, sharing what I think we are doing well and what we can improve.

When I was woken last Thursday night by a phone call from the duty exec to tell me that a child had gone missing, I didn't anticipate that the hospital would spend the next week and a half at the centre of an international media storm.

I know that everyone shares my relief that Ashya is now in Prague Motol Hospital, where he will be able to receive the treatment that he needs.

"At times over these recent, very intense few days, I have been left lost for words, but one of our emergency department consultants has written two 'tweets' that express my feelings better than I could myself

The first read as follows:

Of all medical specialities paediatric oncology must be one of the hardest. Young lives, devastating diseases, special doctors and nurses."

He is so right. During the past week I have got to know some of the Southampton paediatric oncology team very well. I have been humbled by their compassion, fortitude and forensic attention to detail under pressure. When their email inboxes were full of personal abuse from strangers, and there were journalists camped on their front door, they were still worrying about how we could do the best thing for a small boy in Spain.

I cannot imagine having to face the reality of your child being diagnosed with a brain tumour. But I do know that in this dreadful situation, I would want the support and care of this brilliant clinical team.

The second tweet said:

Whilst the country's media looked for its next scoop @UHSFT today continued to provide top quality evidenced based care to its patients."

I know how hard this was on some days last week. Our switchboard and patient support services were overwhelmed with calls from irate members of the public. Our security team were busy trying to manage multiple camera crews and satellite vans, the clinical site team were attempting to maintain control of the situation alongside all the usual challenges of bed availability and our press team were besieged by the media, whilst trying to make measured judgements about how to respond to this unprecedented situation.

And many other people working here were being questioned by patients or the public about this situation, sometimes in a very aggressive way.

But through all of this we still had thousands of patients who needed care and treatment. And I'm so grateful to everyone who kept on doing their job, and making sure that we gave the best possible patient care that we could. Thank you so much to everyone for this. Thank you in particular to people who took on extra work to cover the usual work of their colleagues (like me!) who were trying to manage this particular issue. You have made me proud, once again, to be part of University Hospital Southampton."

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Ashya King's proton therapy to start next week

Ashya King could start proton treatment as early as Monday, the Proton Therapy Center in Prague has said.

In a statement the centre said that the five-year-old had been fitted with a special treatment mask today as well as undergoing a series of tests.

Ashya King, a 5-year-old British boy with a brain tumour, lies on a stretcher as he arrives with his parents at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague. Credit: Reuters

If all goes well and the physicists will be able to prepare Ashya’s irradiation plan in four days already instead of standard ten days, he will start the first irradiation on Monday. His plan takes 30 irradiation visits and is combined with chemotherapy. The chemotherapy will be applied by specialised oncologists at Motol University Hospital, where Ashya is hospitalized with his mother.

– Proton Therapy Center, Prague
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Dad: Our imprisonment was 'torture' for Ashya

Ashya's father Brett King described his incarceration as "torture" for the five-year-old.

Mr King and his wife were in jail for five days while Ashya was in Spain, but he said their discomfort was nothing compared to anyone who had cancer.

Mr King said Ashya is still traumatised after the enforced separation: "Every time I say goodbye to him, he starts to cry: 'will I see you tomorrow?' sort of thing," he added.

Mr King also told media waiting outside the Proton Treatment Center in Prague that he is concerned about what authorities will say when his other children do not attend school in the UK.

Most of the King family remains in Spain.

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