LONDON — A 12-year-old epileptic boy was traveling with his mother from Toronto to the United Kingdom last week when his medicine was confiscated at the airport in London, according to Reuters.
The boy's mother Charlotte Caldwell traveled to Canada to get the epilepsy medication, but authorities at Heathrow Airport confiscated the cannabis oil when she returned home. Just five days later, the boy was admitted to Westminster Hospital after having several seizures.
The youth has taken cannabis oil for his severe seizures since 2016. The boy was having upwards of 100 seizures per day until he began using cannabis oil legally in the U.S. His mother said the amount of seizures her son dropped dramatically and were less intense while taking the oil, but they again become intense just a few days after the cannabis oil was confiscated by officials.
“Children Are Dying in Our Country and it Needs to Stop Now”
Caldwell said her son Billy was ill after the recent seizures, and his "little body has been completely broken and his little mind. No other family should have to go through this sort of ordeal, traveling half way 'round the world to get medication, which should be freely available.”
She went on to say that the administration should not be allowed to interfere with childcare treatments prescribed by a physician.
“Children are dying in our country and it needs to stop now,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell plead her case publicly through news outlets and requested her son's epilepsy medication be returned immediately. She added that his treatment has been brutal, callous, and undeserved. Caldwell was invited to the Home Office, where she begged interior ministry officials in person.
A study conducted in the U.K. at The University of Wales and King's College London found that cannabis oil could help minimize seizures by 50 percent. The study also found that seizures were completely eliminated for 1 out of 10 patients.
After Billy was admitted to the hospital, members of the interior ministry met with the members of the boy's medical team and agreed to return the medicine. The Home Office said it had given an emergency 20-day license for the medicine to be administered, pending a review. The emergency request was granted by British Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
“This is a very complex situation, but our immediate priority is making sure Billy receives the most effective treatment possible in a safe way,” said Javid. He went on to say that the senior physicians on the boy's case deemed it an emergency. The epilepsy medication will be given at the hospital and not allowed to be taken home while the government reviews the case further.
The news comes not long after another little boy in the U.K. was denied medicinal cannabis and was hospitalized in March. The family of Alfie Dingley made a request to the Home Office to save her son's life and asked for permission to give him his epilepsy medication back in April, but the request is still pending. Alfie also has more than 100 seizures daily.
Hannah Deacon, Alfie's mother, said she contacted the Home Office to inquire about her son's pending decision, after learning the Caldwell's request was granted, noting she was promised a swift resolution but has already waited 3 months.
Deacon said the government has shown a sense of urgency through Caldwell's case.
"It would be unconscionably cruel if the Home Office delays any further in issuing our medical team the license they need to administer medical cannabis to our son, Alfie,” she said. “The time for process and bureaucracy has passed. As his parents, we demand action."
The Home Office said Saturday it would decide Alfie's case as quickly as possible.