Billy Caldwell has been taking two medicinal cannabis prescriptions to prevent the up to 100 seizures he previously suffered each day. Now, the UK National Health Services (NHS) have coerced Billy's physician in to ceasing his prescriptions.
Charlotte Caldwell is a single mother form Northern Ireland who's severely epileptic son was the first patient in the UK to receive legal cannabis on the NHS. But now, that decision has changed. As the family physician Dr. Brendan O'Hara told The Times, he has been "written to by the Home Office in London and interviewed in Belfast by the [health] department’s drug enforcement officials and warned not to write any more prescriptions."
Charlotte is in shock, equating the news with a death letter for her son from the state.
"I had to read the email a few times—I was in shock—and it dawned on me that somebody had signed Billy’s death warrant."
The changes comes because of the legal status of Billy's medications in the UK. He was prescribed two different medicines on a trip to the US. One of the medications was thew cannabis-derived oil CBD, which is legal for medical use in the UK, but it was Billy's other medication, THCA, which has caused the problems. That drug is treated as a Class B drug—lumping it in with other illicit street drugs.
O'Hara says regardless of the legal status of Billy's medication, the results are clear and taking medication away from a suffering child is a drastic action.
"It is not my intention to open the floodgates to inappropriate use of cannabis, but on an individual basis it improved him very significantly. There was quite a dramatic change in the number of fits he was having and there is an ethical issue about withholding this stuff from a child."
Charlotte says cannabis has allowed her son to communicate and express affection in ways he never could before and in ways that will be taken away from them when his stock of medication runs out in June.
"Sometimes in the past I would have questioned if he knew I was his mummy, because he never showed any signs. Now out of the blue he got up on my knee and gave me eye contact and gave me a hug."