Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

MPs demand legalisation of medical cannabis after boy, 12, is hospitalised

MPs demand legalisation of medical cannabis after boy, 12, is hospitalised

The mother of a severely epileptic boy has celebrated managing to convince the Home Office to return some of his cannabis oil medication confiscated by officials at customs.

Billy Caldwell, 12, travelled to Canada with his mother to get the oil after his after his doctor was told to stop prescribing it.

The oil has since been delivered to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where Billy is being treated, but may not be taken home.

The oil was initially confiscated at Heathrow airport after Charlotte attempted to bring it into the country.

"The situation is now described by doctors in Canada and Northern Ireland familiar with Billy's case as being life-threatening", they said.

He had previously been prescribed cannabis oil by his GP, which put a halt to his devastating seizures, but his GP was then ordered to stop prescribing the drug.

However, after little Billy was rushed into hospital, Home Secretary Sajid Javid granted the family a special licence, meaning he can use the cannabis oil at hospital. The only thing that can save him, his anti-epileptic medication, is sitting on a desk in the Home Office out of our reach.

"This is a very complex situation, but our immediate priority is making sure Billy receives the most effective treatment possible in a safe way".

Caldwell was hospitalised on Friday suffering from several seizures.

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She added: "The Home Office, myself and my team have been working extremely hard throughout the night to make this happen, which is truly incredible, but there can only be one conclusion here: that my handsome sweet little boy, who has a life-threatening form of epilepsy and one seizure can kill him, he needs his medicine back today".

He said: "I genuinely don't understand why we see. medicinal cannabis through the prism of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs legislation, when actually this is a medical issue, it's not a prohibition of drugs issue, and that's what's got to change". A spokeswoman for the Home Office said it was an "exceptional licence" for a "short-term emergency" and it would need to be reviewed. He said his decision was based on advice from senior doctors who made it clear that Billy, who was admitted to hospital on Friday, was facing a medical emergency.

Now the medication had been released by the British Home Office and is on its way to the hospital where the youngster is being treated.

"No other family should have to go through this sort of ordeal, travelling half way round the world to get medication which should be freely available", she said.

Billy started the treatment in 2016 in the USA, where medical marijuana is legal.

Mr Blunt, a Conservative, said current laws were based on an "outdated" idea that cannabis had no medicinal value.

Billy became the first person in the United Kingdom to receive a prescription after his local GP in Northern Ireland, Brendan O'Hare, began writing scripts.

Charlotte made the trip to Toronto and back with her sick son to get a six-month supply to treat up to 100 seizures a day, but said border officials seized the oil.

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