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Neon Roberts' Mum Loses Cancer Treatment Case
A seven-year-old boy should have radiotherapy treatment for cancer against his mother's wishes, a High Court judge has ruled.
Mr Justice Bodey dismissed Sally Roberts' attempt to prevent the treatment being given to her son, Neon - and expressed concern over her decision-making regarding the child's welfare.
Ms Roberts, 37, told the court she believed radiotherapy would cause Neon long-term harm and argued in favour of alternative treatment.
However, doctors have said Neon could die within months if he does not get the radiotherapy.
Mr Justice Bodey ruled that such treatment could now start.
"The mother has been through a terrible time. This sort of thing is every parent's nightmare," said the judge.
"But I am worried that her judgement has gone awry on the question of the seriousness of the threat which Neon faces."
Ms Roberts, a New Zealander who lives in Brighton, East Sussex, had told the court she was not a "bonkers mother" and insisted on alternative treatment.
She said she feared that radiotherapy would reduce Neon's IQ, shorten his life, put him at risk of having strokes and make him infertile.
But Mr Justice Bodey said he had to balance risk against benefit and said of the disadvantages of radiotherapy: "You can only suffer these detriments to your life if you are alive."
Neon's father Ben, who lives in London and is separated from Ms Roberts, had agreed to radiotherapy but was "apprehensive", the court heard.
The judge said Neon was to reside with his father for the duration of the cancer treatment.
And, seeking to prevent a "stalemate" in case Neon's parents took different views, the judge said doctors would need only Mr Roberts' consent when making future decisions about the boy's treatment.
Mr Justice Bodey praised the dedication of the paediatric oncologist who has been following Neon and said he fully accepted the evidence provided by the doctor.
"The alternative treatment sought by the mother would at least have to meet the 85% success rate of the existing radio/chemotherapy treatment," the judge said.
Neon has undergone two operations on his brain, including a seven-hour procedure on Wednesday to remove a "residual tumour".
Ms Roberts had sought to prevent surgeons from performing the follow-up surgery, but lost that legal bid too. The court was told that operation had gone well.
Ms Roberts said after the hearing that she was "not allowed" to comment.
Mr Roberts' solicitor, Gwen Williams, said her client was "relieved" that the judge had made a 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," said Ms Williams.