British Boy Can Have Radiotherapy Against Mother's Wishes


A British judge ruled Friday that a seven-year-old boy with cancer can have radiotherapy treatment despite his mother's opposition.

New Zealander Sally Roberts, 37, had refused to give consent for her son Neon to receive radiotherapy to treat a brain tumor, fearing that it would cause him long-term harm and arguing that "credible" alternative treatment was available.

But High Court judge David Bodey ruled that Neon, who has already had surgery on the tumor, could have radiotherapy after doctors said the seven-year-old would very likely die soon without treatment.

The judge had ruled on Tuesday that Neon could also undergo more surgery against his mother's wishes.

"The mother has been through a terrible time. This sort of thing is every parent's nightmare," Bodey said.

"But I am worried that her judgment has gone awry on the question of the seriousness of the threat which Neon faces."

Roberts sparked a nationwide police search earlier this month when she ran away with her son in what she said was a panicked move to protect him. The pair were found safe after a judge ordered a search and Roberts apologised for her actions.

She told the court that she was not a "bonkers mother" but feared radiotherapy would reduce Neon's intelligence, shorten his life, increase his risk of having a stroke and make him infertile.

Her estranged husband Ben had agreed to their son having radiotherapy but was "apprehensive", the court heard.

Sally Roberts declined to comment on the verdict, but her husband's lawyer said in a statement: "Mr Roberts is relieved that the judge has been able to make a final ruling on Neon's treatment.

"He now hopes that Neon can be allowed to recover from his latest operation and start the radiotherapy and chemotherapy that the doctors have outlined without any further delay."

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