Runaway mum loses cancer court fight

Sally Roberts, right, and her son Neon. Photo / Supplied
Sally Roberts, right, and her son Neon. Photo / Supplied

A high court judge in Britain has ruled a seven-year-old boy must undergo life-saving brain surgery against the will of his New Zealand-born mother.

Neon Roberts will have an operation to remove a 1.5cm residual tumour on Wednesday (UK time), after doctors warned it was "highly likely" the boy would die within a "relatively short period" without the treatment, BBC News reported.

Sally Roberts, 37, ran away with her son earlier this month in the midst of a legal battle over whether the boy should undergo radiation treatment following surgery in October to remove a brain tumour.

The pair were found five days later following a nationwide search.

After a residual tumour was discovered last week Ms Roberts consented to surgery, however changed her mind again at the last minute, the court heard.

Ms Roberts, originally from Auckland but now in Devon, was concerned about the risk of brain damage as a result of the procedure.

The treatment has the backing of her estranged husband, Ben.

Ms Roberts told the court she was "not persuaded of the need and not persuaded of the urgency" of the surgery, the Guardian reported, and said she needed more time to get experts from abroad she claimed could challenge the views of British experts.

Justice Bodey said while he sympathised with Ms Roberts, he agreed with medical professionals the surgery was required "extremely urgently".

"It is obvious and known to everyone that all operations carry risks and this is no exception," he said, the Daily Telegraph reported.

"But taking this on balance, against the expected gains to Neon in the unhappy position he now finds himself in, I am quite satisfied that surgery is in his best interests and I shall make a decision accordingly so it can go ahead."

Justice Bodey told the court he would likely make a ruling by the end of the week on whether further treatment, including radiotherapy, should be taken, BBC News reported.

The court was adjourned until Thursday (UK time).

- nzherald.co.nz

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