Authorities have launched an international search for a 5-year-old boy with a brain tumor who was taken from a British hospital by his Jehovah’s Witness parents. Police say the boy’s feeding tube battery will run out today.
Ashya King, who requires 24-hour medical care and must eat using a feeding tube, was snatched from Southampton General Hospital Thursday by his own parents, Brett and Naghemeh King.
The family boarded a Portsmouth ferry headed across the English Channel two hours after Ashya was taken. Authorities believe he is now in France.
The battery in Ashya’s feeding tube will run out in the next 24 hours, making his condition life-threatening. A police spokesman said Ashya is at a “substantial risk” and there are “serious concerns for his life.”
“Time is running out for this little boy. We need to find him and we need to find him urgently,” said Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead on Friday.
He would not comment on the family's religious beliefs in connection with the boy's treatment.
Authorities say Ashya is immobile and is likely in a wheelchair or buggy.
“Our message to you is ‘please take Ashya to the nearest hospital immediately,’” said Shead. “We understand this must be an awful time for you but the most important thing is to get the proper medical care for Ashya. Please work with us to provide Ashya that care.”
His devastated grandmother, Patricia King, is pleading for the parents to return the boy to England.
“All I would say to Brett is, please, bring him back,” King said. “We have all been in a terrible state over Ashya's health - it's been a dreadful time for us all over the last month.”
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