Northern Ireland news

Epileptic Billy Caldwell campaigning for cannabis treatment 'is in life-threatening condition'

Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy at Heathrow Airport after having a supply of cannabis oil used to treat his severe epilepsy confiscated
Michael McHugh

A CO TYRONE mother seeking a cannabis oil supply to treat her sick son has said he is in a life-threatening condition.

Twelve-year-old Billy Caldwell was taken by ambulance to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London on Friday after his epilepsy seizures "intensified", a family statement added.

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

A batch of the banned drug used to treat him was confiscated from his mother Charlotte Caldwell at Heathrow Airport, and she said the Home Office would be held accountable if he died.

Ms Caldwell said: "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.

"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 a banned component)."

Ms Caldwell said Billy had back-to-back seizures on Friday.

"On his medication, which included the vital but banned THC component, he was seizure-free for more than 300 days."

She said her son was too ill to travel to Canada to get his medication.

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