Published on 7 Dec 2012 Sections

Mother feared tumour treatment would ‘fry son’s brain’

A mother who tried to stop doctors using radiotherapy on her seriously ill son tries to persuade the high court to order a halt to treatment which, she claimed, doctors told her would “fry his brain”.

Lawyers representing Sally Roberts told Mr Justice Bodey she did not want her son Neon to have radiotherapy treatment for a brain tumour.

A barrister outlined Ms Roberts’s position in written arguments at the start of a high court hearing in London, expected to rule on his treatment.

“Much sympathy it is hoped will be felt for her overall position,” said Robin Tolson QC.

“The mother’s position in this litigation… is principled, reasonable and in the best interests of Neon.”

Ms Roberts, of Tiverton, Devon, was in court for the start of the hearing.

A judge ordered a nationwide search for Ms Roberts and Neon after they vanished earlier this week. Both were found safe.

Ms Roberts, a New Zealander who is separated from Neon’s father, Ben, told Mr Justice Bodey that she was sorry for going into hiding.

“I very much apologise,” she told the court. “I only want the best for my son.”

Not a ‘bonkers mother’

But she said she was not a “bonkers mother” and feared that radiotherapy could do long-term harm to Neon.

The judge is being asked to decide whether it is in Neon’s best interests to undergo radiotherapy and chemotherapy – or only chemotherapy – following surgery on a cancerous brain tumour.

Doctors say it is “clearly” in Neon’s best interests to have radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

A lawyer representing health authorities treating Neon told the court that the “alternative is death”.

Mr Justice Bodey said Neon’s illness was the “stuff of every parent’s nightmare”.

He added that he would have to balance what treatment would achieve against the “downsides”.

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