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Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Right-to-life family deny assault
David Glass
Doctors thought David Glass was going to die
A paediatrician needed surgery after he was kicked and punched during a row over the hospital treatment of a 12-year-old disabled boy, a court heard on Wednesday.

Dr Mark Ashton was attacked at St Mary's Hospital in Milton, Portsmouth, by relatives of David Glass after they refused to accept the child was going to die.

In the event, doctors did not withdraw treatment and David - who is profoundly disabled - survived.

The case hit the headlines last year when David's mother Carol launched an unsuccessful legal bid to ban doctors from refusing potentially life-saving treatment to her son without first obtaining court guidance.

Dr Ashton broke down in the witness box at Portsmouth Crown Court as he recalled the attack which took place 18 months ago.

If he dies I am going to break your neck and mash you to a pulp before you can hit the panic button

Alleged threat

David's aunts and uncle Diane Wild, 42, Julie Hodgson, 37, and Raymond Davis, 43, all deny violent disorder and attacking Dr Ashton, causing actual bodily harm, in the hospital in October 1998.

Ms Wild also denied a further charge of assaulting Dr Joanna Walker on the same day, also causing actual bodily harm.

Violence flared

Dr Ashton said violence flared in the children's ward after a row over the treatment of David, a profoundly mentally and physically disabled boy, who was expected to die within hours from a chest infection.

St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth
The assault allegedly took place at St Mary's Hospital, Porstmouth

He said the atmosphere was frightening and abusive and said he heard one woman tell Dr Walker: "If he dies I am going to break your neck and mash you to a pulp before you can hit the panic button."

He then had to pull the woman off Dr Walker, but was bitten as a policeman stepped in.

Dr Ashton told the jury: "I looked up and saw this woman lunging at me with her teeth and I can still see her face and it looked so triumphant."

He was pulled outside the room and punched, kicked and head-butted by waiting relatives, he said.

"There were people running up and down the corridor shouting and screaming, it was just Armageddon, it was awful."

Dr Ashton said he had needed surgery on his knee after the attack and had still not fully recovered.

His colleague Dr Walker also had to be treated for injuries to her shoulder, head, arm, abdomen, knee, chest and face after the attack, the court heard.

David was born with the brain condition hydranencephaly, which left him profoundly mentally and physically handicapped.

Doctors genuinely thought he was going to die and wanted to give him diamorphine to ease his pain and distress, but not to speed his death, they told the jury.

But his family opposed the treatment and accused doctors of trying to kill the boy.

He was discharged from the hospital on the night of the attack and did survive the infection and is now aged 14.

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