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Ruling backs boy's cancer surgery
A seven-year-old boy at the centre of a legal dispute over cancer treatment is due to undergo more surgery on a brain tumour on Wednesday - against his mother's wishes.
Sally Roberts wanted any operation on her son Neon delayed until more doctors had been consulted about the need for further surgery. But a High Court judge ruled that further treatment should go ahead after a specialist said an operation needed to be carried out urgently.
Mr Justice Bodey, who heard evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said the gains outweighed the risks. He said the hospital where Neon would undergo surgery should not be identified.
Ms Roberts, 37, of Brighton, East Sussex, said she wanted opinions from doctors in Russia, Germany and the United States and asked for the surgery to be postponed. Ms Roberts told the court: "I would greatly appreciate having this opinion before we proceed with surgery. I feel I need more expert opinion on it before proceeding."
But a doctor treating Neon said a scan showed more surgery needed to be carried out "urgently". He said tests had shown there was "residual tumour" left behind after the first operation. And he said a second doctor agreed with his analysis.
The doctor said the tumour could spread without surgery. And he said it was "highly likely" that Neon would die within a "relatively short period" without further treatment.
Mr Justice Bodey said: "I have reflected on the mother's concerns and no-one could fail to sympathise. I have weighed up the risks attached with surgery. I am quite satisfied that surgery is in his best interests."
Earlier this month, Ms Roberts, who comes from New Zealand, told the High Court that she objected to Neon having radiotherapy treatment following his first operation. Ms Roberts said she feared that radiotherapy would cause Neon long-term harm. Doctors said Neon might die within months without radiotherapy.
Mr Justice Bodey had been due to make a ruling on whether Neon should undergo radiotherapy treatment against the wishes of his mother. But that ruling was delayed after doctors said Neon need more surgery.
The judge said he would hear further argument about the pros and cons of radiotherapy treatment at a High Court hearing in London on Thursday - before making a decision on the issue.