Who is the best guardian of a child’s health – mother or state? Today’s Debate

This week’s ruling by the High Court that a seven-year-old boy should receive brain surgery to remove a tumour against the wishes of his mother, raises a fundamental debate over who is the best guardian of a child’s interests.

The heart-wrenching case means that Neon Roberts is to undergo the operation, despite his mother, Sally Roberts‘, protests that the surgery could do long-term harm, including causing permanent brain damage. She is also still fighting to prevent her son from having radiotherapy following the operation in the new year.

Reading interviews with Mrs Roberts, she has clearly done a huge amount of research into her son’s condition and possible treatments, so her objections are far from those of a well-intentioned nutter. But doctors treating Neon successfully argued that his treatment is essential to save his life.

The case has certainly got us talking at w&h. Those of us who are mothers would like to think that we always know what is best for our kids… But sometimes should we admit that we’re just too emotionally involved when it comes to their wellbeing to be completely dispassionate in our decision-making?

What do you think? Is it right that the state should have the last word in how we care for our kids? Tell us in the comments box below or in our forums now…

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