Billy Caldwell situation now ‘life threatening’

Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy at Heathrow Airport after having a supply of cannabis oil used to treat his severe epilepsy confiscated on their return from Canada. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 11, 2018.
Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy at Heathrow Airport after having a supply of cannabis oil used to treat his severe epilepsy confiscated on their return from Canada. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 11, 2018.

The Castlederg boy whose cannabis related anti-epileptic medication was confiscated at Heathrow Airport on Monday, is now suffering such frequent seizures that his situation is life threatening, his family have said.

The 12-year-old boy is now too ill to travel back to Canada for treatment, meaning the only effective medication is locked in secure storage in the Home Office in London.

Billy’s mother Charlotte has become increasingly concerned and took him to St Mary’s University Hospital in London at 9pm on Thursday night for assessment and treatment where doctors were “horrified” that Billy was being deprived of his medication, the statement said.

He is now in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

Billy has had back-to-back seizures today, Friday. On his medication, which included the vital but banned THC component, he was seizure-free for more than 300 days.

Canadian doctors aware of both Billy’s condition and the Home Office’s “intransigence” have been trying without success to speak with Home Office recommended paediatric consultant Dr David McCormick, who, the family say has so far refused to see Billy.

“This is beyond cruelty. We’ve now reached the point where Billy is too ill to travel to get his medication, but his medication is stored minutes away from where we’re now living in London,” said Charlotte Caldwell.

“Despite the best and honest efforts of the NHS, frontline doctors are fighting Billy’s condition with both hands tied behind their back because the only medication that will be effective is the cannabis oil with CBD and THC. Those meds need to be released immediately.

“If Billy dies, which is looking increasingly possible, then the Home Office, and Nick Hurd, will be held completely accountable.”

The child, from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, started the treatment in 2016 in the US, where medical marijuana is legal.

He became the first person in the UK to receive a prescription after his local GP in Northern Ireland, Brendan O’Hare, began writing scripts.

However, there is no record of a health service prescription being dispensed.

Dr O’Hare was summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials recently and told to desist.

Ms Caldwell made the trip to Toronto and back with 12-year-old Billy to get a six-month supply to treat up to 100 seizures a day, but said border officials seized the oil.

The child, from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, started the treatment in 2016 in the US, where medical marijuana is legal.

He became the first person in the UK to receive a prescription after his local GP in Northern Ireland, Brendan O’Hare, began writing scripts.

However, there is no record of a health service prescription being dispensed.

Dr O’Hare was summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials recently and told to desist.

Ms Caldwell made the trip to Toronto and back with 12-year-old Billy to get a six-month supply to treat up to 100 seizures a day, but said border officials seized the oil.

The News Letter is contacting the Home Office for comment,