- High Court rules Neon Roberts needs surgery on brain tumour
- His mother tells court she does not consent to the operation
- Doctors tell court that he would inevitably die if untreated
- Mother previously disappeared with child after opposing the treatment
By Paul Bentley
Refused: Sally Roberts, 37, pictured outside the High Court in London yesterday, told a judge that she did not want her son Neon, 7, to receive surgery on a brain tumour
The boy snatched by his mother to save him from the ordeal of cancer treatment will have brain surgery today against her wishes.
A judge ordered yesterday that seven-year-old Neon Roberts must be operated on ?as soon as possible?.
A doctor told the court that without treatment it was highly likely the child would die ?after a relatively short period of time?.
But Sally Roberts has refused to give her consent because she does not trust British doctors and fears her son will suffer long-term side effects from treatment.
Mrs Roberts, 37, wants to seek second opinions from abroad and argued it is her ?human right? to decide what is best for Neon.
But in the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Bodey said: ?We do not have the luxury of time. I am quite satisfied that surgery is in his best interests.?
Last night Neon was given his Christmas presents early before being taken to hospital.
He was diagnosed two months ago with a medulloblastoma tumour, which doctors believed they had removed in full during a nine-hour operation on October 25.
But Mrs Roberts refused to let her son receive radiotherapy following the first operation, and recent MRI scans picked up a growth of 1.5cm squared ? either regrowth or residual tumour.
Her estranged husband Ben, 34, wrote a statement to the judge saying he was in support of surgery and is said to be ?anxious? it is performed as soon as possible.
After yesterday?s verdict, Mrs Roberts, who triggered a national search when she went on the run with her son two weeks ago, said she understood why the judge made the ruling, but added: ?Should this be my decision as his mother? Of course it should be. It is a human rights issue.
Disagreement: Sally Roberts heard Mt Justice Bodey saying that emergency surgery should be carried out on Neon on Wednesday, despite her opposition
Decision: A judge ruled that Neon, left, should undergo further surgery on a brain tumour. His mother Sally Roberts, centre, told the court she is opposed to the surgery. Neon's twin Electra is pictured right
Siblings: The High Court was forced to rule on Neon's case, pictured with his twin sister Electra, after repeated delays to treatment
Opposition: Sally Roberts has expressed concerns that radiotherapy may damage her son Neon in the long-term, potentially affecting his IQ and fertility
Neon Roberts faces brain surgery today
?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.?
The operation carries a risk of between 10 and 25 per cent that Neon will be left mute. But despite experts unanimously reporting that his cancer has returned and warning that he may have only two or three months to live without treatment, Mrs Roberts said she believed doctors were over-emphasising how ?sick? he is.
?Everyone is talking of me depriving him of treatment, saying my son is going to die. It is simply not true but everyone believes it,? she added.
?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.?
She insisted that she was not fighting simply on mother?s intuition, saying: ?This is not something I just think. This is something I know. I have researched this.?
She said her estranged husband opposed her actions because he had not done enough research on the subject. 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?.
She argued that the only evidence cited in court in favour of radiotherapy was a study on a small number of infants from the 1940s, and claimed to have found studies from abroad which prove radiotherapy is often unnecessary. A doctor in court said he was not familiar with the research.
In court: Sally Roberts, 37, pictured left at a previous court hearing, has been battling with her estranged husband, Ben, 34, pictured right, over the treatment of their son Neon
Mrs Roberts dismissed her legal team minutes before court yesterday because she did not believe they had enough faith in her case. She has since hired renowned human rights lawyer Imran Khan, best known for representing the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
The mother-of-two, who is originally from New Zealand, had asked the court to postpone a decision on surgery until she could seek second opinions from Russia, Germany, China and the United States.
She had earlier consented to the operation but changed her mind on the morning of yesterday?s hearing, and said she believes the growth spotted on recent MRI scans could be scar tissue.
Doctors treating Neon, however, claim he has already been ?disadvantaged? by the delays in his treatment. Mr Justice Bodey said he had sympathy with Mrs Roberts, but added: ?Putting all those risks in the balance?.?.?.?in the unhappy position [Neon] now finds himself, I am quite satisfied that surgery is in his best interests.?
After spending today in hospital with Neon, Mrs Roberts will tomorrow return to the High Court to try to prevent her son being given radiotherapy in January.
Public: Mrs Roberts has spoken widely to the press about why she went on the run with her son, pictured here appearing on ITV's Daybreak
Neon Roberts, 7, pictured, is suffering from a recurrence of his brain tumour, the court heard
Sally Roberts arriving at the High Court in London yesterday