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Decision due on brain tumour boy


Sally Roberts wants her son to undergo alternative tumour treatment

Sally Roberts wants her son to undergo alternative tumour treatment

Sally Roberts wants her son to undergo alternative tumour treatment

A woman who does not want her seven-year-old son to have radiotherapy treatment following surgery on a brain tumour should discover on Friday whether she has won a High Court fight.

Sally Roberts, 37, a New Zealander who lives in Brighton, East Sussex, fears that radiotherapy will cause long-term harm and says she thinks that "credible" alternative treatment is available.

A specialist treating Neon accepts that there are side effects to radiotherapy but says without the treatment the youngster could die within a few months.

Mr Justice Bodey, who heard evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London today, said he aimed to deliver a ruling on Thursday. He said he wanted to give issues raised a lot of thought.

Ms Roberts said she is not a "bonkers mother". She said she fears that radiotherapy will reduce Neon's intelligence quotient (IQ), shorten his life, put him at risk of having strokes and make him infertile. And she told the judge that she wanted medics to consider alternatives.

Ms Roberts said she would agree to Neon being given chemotherapy because damage caused could be "overcome".

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 specialist told the court that a team of experts involved in Neon's care had agreed that radiotherapy treatment was in Neon's best interests. He said doctors wanted to start radiotherapy treatment as soon as possible. And he suggested that Neon could lead a "good life" after receiving radiotherapy treatment.

Lawyers representing doctors involved in Neon's care told the judge that Ms Roberts was proposing "experimental therapies", which were "unproven", as alternatives to radiotherapy.

Mr Justice Bodey said he had to balance risk against benefit in deciding whether to allow doctors to use radiotherapy treatment. He said: "It is a balance between the disadvantages of radiotherapy and the improved prospects of living. You can only suffer these detriments to your life if you are alive. I want to think about it a lot."

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