A UK judge has ordered that a seven-year-old boy with brain cancer should have life-saving surgery, despite protests from his mother who wants to pursue ‘alternative therapies’ for her son.
On Monday, after hearing evidence from doctors that Neon Roberts will die within three months without surgery, the judge ruled that doctors should be allowed to operate – even without his mother Sally’s consent.
The story of Sally Roberts and her son Neon has been dominating UK press reports since the 37-year-old mother disappeared with her son two weeks ago. Roberts is determined to try the medically unproven ‘oxygen therapy’ for her son, rather than let him undergo radiotherapy in a hospital.
After Roberts and her son were located once again, court proceedings have now been able to commence.
Neon has a medulloblastoma tumor – a type of brain tumor that mainly effects children and is typically treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The survival rate for this brain tumour is good – around 80 per cent in fact – but that survival rate only applies to people who HAVE the surgery that can save them.
Roberts told the court that she has a ‘human right’ to do what is best for her son. “Should this be my decision as his mother? Of course it should be. It is a human rights issue,” she said, according The Daily Mail.
“‘I’m not keeping this case going, spending taxpayers’ money, for nothing. I believe in this. Death by doctor – people need to understand how big a problem it is. I couldn’t forgive myself if I did nothing.”
Neon has now developed a second tumor, which was identified while the court proceedings were ongoing. His mother Sally, initially agreed to more surgery for her son following the discovery of the residual tumor but changed her mind late on Tuesday this week, saying she simply didn’t trust British doctors.
Having sacked her legal team during the legal proceedings, Robets claims that doctors are ‘over emphasising’ how sick her son is. She wants to delay the surgery for another week, so that she can consult experts overseas.
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‘He’s running about, wanting to play. But the surgery will take it out of him. The operation will affect his movement, balance, his speech. It can sometimes cause the cancer to spread’…
Mrs Roberts, who wants Neon to be treated with alternative medicine such as oxygen therapy, insisted ‘death by doctor’ was a ‘bigger problem than terrorism’.
“I have weighed up the risk factors attached to surgery. It is obvious and known to everyone that all operations carry risk and this is no exception. But taking this on balance against the expected gain to [Neon], in the unhappy position he now finds himself in, I am quite satisfied that surgery is in his best interests and I am making a declaration so it can go ahead. Further delay would only postpone difficult decisions.”