Mother plans appeal after judge rules bone cancer son must have palliative care

A former nurse who has lost a High Court fight for her sick son's "right to life" says she wants to mount an appeal.

Doctors told a judge that the schoolboy had bone cancer, was terminally ill and should be moved to a palliative care regime which would minimise suffering in his final months.

The boy's parents objected.

His mother said her "beautiful" son's symptoms ought to be managed according to the progression of his disease.

She said his death should not be pre-determined.

But Mr Justice MacDonald ruled on Friday that the boy - who was diagnosed with cancer four years ago - should move to the palliative care regime proposed by specialists.

The judge described the case was "unbearably sad" and said the youngster's parents were suffering "unimaginable agony".

He had analysed issues at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The boy's mother said, after the ruling, that her son had not had a fair trial.

She said she wanted the Court of Appeal to consider the case.

Specialists said boy's disease had reached a stage where ''curative treatment'' was no longer possible.

They said the youngster was in pain and said his pain would become unremitting and excruciating if not managed.

Doctors said he should have ''palliative chemotherapy'' - which would reduce pain - and medication.

One specialist told Mr Justice MacDonald that the youngster had a ''huge painful tumour'' which was ''fast growing''.

Another had wiped away tears as she gave evidence.

The boy's mother said she was not ''in denial''.

But she told the judge that she disagreed with the doctors' diagnosis, thought that the tumour was slow growing and did not think that her son's human rights were being respected.

She also said she was worried about the side effects of chemotherapy and a ''cocktail of painkillers''.

Mr Justice MacDonald said he was satisfied that the boy's prognosis was terminal and that pain could become unbearable if not treated.

He said was satisfied that the treatment plan put forward by doctors was in the boy's best interests.

The boy's father - who had described his son as "amazing" - wept as the judge outlined his conclusions.

Mr Justice MacDonald said the boy's parents were suffering unimaginable agony after being given an "apocalyptic" prognosis.

"Parents faced with a terminal illness befalling their child have to deal with the horror in the best way they can," said the judge.

"Neither the mother or the father in this case are anything other than loving parents who are simply trying to stay upright in the darkening storm which has engulfed their family."

The judge had said journalists could report the hearing even though members of the public were not allowed to attend.

But the judge said nothing could be reported which might identify the youngster - including his age, address or the name of hospital authority with responsibility for care.

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