Mother doesn't want her son to have radiotherapy after having brain tumour removed.

(186 Posts)
OscarPistoriusBitontheside Fri 07-Dec-12 14:49:11

Can't make the link work but it's on sky news.

Long story short a mother wants to deny her son radiotherapy treatment after his having ha a brain tumour removed because she is worried it will affect his long term health. Doctors have said he had a better chance of survival if he has it. Then estranged (according to the press) father agrees with the doctor.

Personally I think she's crazy. I know two small children who died of brain tumours in the last year and I can only imagine their parents would have given anything to even have had the chance of a discussion about radiotherapy with their doctors.

expatinscotland Sun 09-Dec-12 01:42:36

That's it, though, really, Northern, this is a child. A little child. A little boy.

Xenia Sun 09-Dec-12 08:08:09

In view in this case there seems to be enough doubt that the parents should be allowed to make their own decision. I do not put it into the category of a parent refusing a life saving blood transfusion for a child.

The problem for the law and why this NHS trust went to court is where you draw that line in particular cases where doctors and parents differ in their views. It is not at all easy to decide. If it is cut and dried that most doctors think a child will die without treatment X then that's an easy case even if the parent refuses.

In this case the child s 7 so the issue of when the child itself can consent (see the Gillick case - teenager) is not going to be relevant. I think English and Scottish law may also be slightly different too.

Pantomimedam Sun 09-Dec-12 09:12:59

Horrendous situation. The Mother wants the best for her child and is fully entitled to question what the particular doctors at this particular hospital recommend.

It's appalling that the hospital took her to court for daring to question their orders. It is appalling that the police and social services traumatised her son by raiding the house at 2am and snatching him from his Mother.

There is an entirely legitimate medical debate about the best way forward for this little boy and that debate must involve the parents.

The hospital didn't take her to court for daring to question them. They took her to court to get what the medics believe is the best course of treatment for her son. It is horrible and confrontational and distressing but I am 100% sure it wasn't done lightly by any of the parties involved.

chocoluvva Sun 09-Dec-12 10:11:41

Regardless of the intentions of the hospital I still think it's not their place to try to force this mum into a course of action for her son that she doesn't agree with.
Why should they have a greater right to decide what will happen to this child than the child's own mother?
As expat has seen and on a much smaller (but potentially very significant) scale I have seen too, all professionals don't always make decisions for purely professional reasons. We don't know the individual medics involved in this case, but I think it's naive to be 100% sure their motives are pure. Even if they are, this is not a black and white case - they can't definitely predict what will happen to this little boy whether he has radiotherapy or not.
It's all so sad.
Thank you for the info about cancer charities expat. (One of my bugbears is the disproportional amount of media coverage of breast cancer) - compared with other cancers.

expatinscotland Sun 09-Dec-12 10:18:52

The parties have reached an agreement and the judge has cancelled ruling.

I'd like to remind people, too, that losing your own child, particularly as a young child who does not live to adulthood, there's just no comparison with any other loss. There just isn't.

This is not something a parent facing potential death in their child takes lightly and sadly, I have met some medics who don't know what's best for particular children but can be quite arrogant about pressing their points.

Again, no one knows the in and out of this particular case, but I've seen it happen.

chocoluvva Sun 09-Dec-12 10:27:45

That's good news. Thanks for updating us.

Xenia Sun 09-Dec-12 10:55:31

It must be horrible, expat. It's every parent's nightmare.

It's certainly good that the courts will examine evidence on both sides and not just always side with doctors and that the courts are there to be used when that's needed and there is a dispute between parent and doctors about what is right for a child. I wonder what the compromise is?

Glad that it has been resolved, and maybe just maybe, the medics needed to have an arbitrator in the form of a high court judge who could remind them that this is about a little boy and there are no absolute guarantees.

My personal opinion is that the hospital was very quick to get a court order, but I don't know the facts. Just looks like that from where I'm standing..

LoopsInHoops Sun 09-Dec-12 12:11:20

His cancer is back sad

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 09-Dec-12 13:29:34

What awful news.

Pantomimedam Sun 09-Dec-12 13:40:53

That's so sad. Poor little boy and poor family.

Northern, I do think the doctors and lawyers are very much at fault here. The police raid and social services snatching the child were a direct result of their actions. Causing even more, unimaginable trauma to a small boy who had already suffered greatly.

I don't think it's fair to impugn the motives of the medical staff.

Pantomimedam Sun 09-Dec-12 15:40:17

I think it's entirely fair - and true - to say the SS raid was the entirely predictable result of their actions. The doctors should be working with his family, not against them. I've spent a lot of time working with docs, btw, there are good, bad and indifferent ones, but even the good ones can be arrogant.

EdgarAllanPond Sun 09-Dec-12 15:59:37

i don't think its impugning them to point out that they

1) are making recommendations based on generic evidence
2) will not have as deep an involvement as the parent
3) will not deal with the longer term outcome

bearing in mind they are making recommendations i think it i fair to wonder why courts got involved.

Social services becme involved after the mother failed to attend appointments and effectively disappeared with the boy. The medical opinion quoted in court was that radiotherapy considerably improves his chance of survival. No doctor could responsibly ignore this situation. What was their alternative? To wait for her to return even if they believed delay was going to harm the boy's chances? How could they justify that?

lljkk Sun 09-Dec-12 16:07:00

I've just read her interview in the Mirror (online) and am more convinced than ever that she's bonkers & reckless.
I'd love to know what alternative therapies she was hoping would work.

MrsDeVere Sun 09-Dec-12 16:11:00

She was hoping the chemo would work.
Hardly an alternative therapy

5madthings Sun 09-Dec-12 16:11:43

She's not bonkers or reckless, she is a mothet in an.impossible position to decide what is best for her child.

Try living a day in her life before you judge!

5madthings Sun 09-Dec-12 16:12:46

((mrsdevere and expat and egdar))) hugs and much love to you all, threads like these must be incredibly hard sad

No you can't call her reckless (and bonker is just very, very rude). Reckless would impy she doesn't care about the consequences when it's obvious that she cares utterly and entirely about the consequences.

Blu Sun 09-Dec-12 16:32:03

Good lord.

The thing I would not wish on any parent is the decision which has no 'good choice'. The decision where whichever way you go, there is pain, suffering, guessable but unknowable outcomes, both of which will have potentially frightening consequences.

The minutiae of the condition, treatment and respective prognoses will be detailed, and not published in the news. We can't judge. We can't judge ebcause we don't have the info, we can't judge because thankfully most of us have not been in the horrendous place these parents are in.

Let's not form any opinion of the parents, let's not call them any names, and let's not make asides about the children's names. I very much doubt those names would have had asides made about them if they were, say, James or Esme. angry

expatinscotland Sun 09-Dec-12 16:35:36

What's hard is that, because so little money is directed into research of brain tumours and cancers in paeds, plenty of children DIE from them after going through months and sometimes years of horrendous treatments or die because no treatment is available to them in the UK and they don't have the money to go abroad until they're very sicks, or die because the treatments that are available don't work and there just isn't as much interest in cancer in kids to generate the vast amount of funding that's needed to give more children a chance to live.

How on earth can anyone say this poor woman is 'bonkers', no she isn't!
She will be going through hell on earth, watching her little boy suffer and not knowing whether he is going to get better.
So she should question the treatment, after all he's here child.
It doesn't sound as though this case was handled well at all.
((Hugs)) to all mothers & fathers that have lost their dc to cancer sad

expatinscotland Sun 09-Dec-12 16:45:52

Edgar, I didn't Google much about A's leukaeamia until after she'd died, the initial results were bad enough sad.

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