A mother in Britain, who was so desperate to stop her cancer-stricken son having to undergo conventional medical treatment that she went into hiding with him, lost a court battle on Friday to prevent him receiving radiotherapy.
The case of Sally Roberts, 37, a New Zealander living in Brighton, southern England, and the plight of her seven-year-old son has made headlines in Britain.
Roberts wants to try alternative treatments first, including immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy for her son Neon. She has been told the boy needs treatment fast but fears the side-effects of conventional medicine.
Doctors treating the boy had warned that without radiotherapy he could die within three months
Judge David Bodey told the High Court in London the life-saving radiotherapy treatment could start against the mother’s wishes, the Press Association reported.
“The mother has been through a terrible time. This sort of thing is every parent’s nightmare,” the judge said.
“But I am worried that her judgment has gone awry on the question of the seriousness of the threat which Neon faces.”
Roberts said in court she had researched on the Internet her son’s condition – a fast-growing, high-grade brain tumor called medulloblastoma – and sought advice from specialists around the world because she did not trust British experts. She feared radiotherapy would stunt the boy’s growth, reduce his IQ, damage his thyroid and potentially leave him infertile.
One has to feel sympathy for Neros mother in this case. But at the same time be thankful that the legal system was able to intervene and stop her making a stupid mistake based on misguided ideology.
What is really needed here is action against those who would mislead and misinform parents. Turning their love for their children into paranoid and harmful abuse at the avoidance of evidence based medical treatment.