Florida Boy with Cancer Whose Parents Refused Chemotherapy Must Remain in Grandparents’ Custody
Hillsborough County circuit court judge Thomas Palermo ruled that staying with his grandparents "is the only way to ensure Noah’s health, safety and well-being,” NBC News reported
A Florida judge ruled against a four-year-old’s parents Monday, ordering the child to stay with his maternal grandparents after the parents stopped their son’s chemotherapy treatments, a public information officer for the court confirmed to PEOPLE.
Noah McAdams was diagnosed with leukemia in April and started chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. But his parents, Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball, said that the treatment made Noah violent and gave him mood swings, and eventually wanted to seek a second opinion about natural treatment options, stopping the chemotherapy.
According to the Mike Moore, public information officer of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court for Hillsborough County in Florida, circuit court Judge Thomas Palermo’s ruling in favor of the grandparents on Monday took almost 30 minutes to deliver.
Palermo stated his ruling to be “the only way to ensure Noah’s health, safety and well-being,” NBC News reported from the courtroom. The judge added that going home with his parents could cause “substantial risk of imminent neglect.”
A week after the family missed the start of Noah’s second round of chemotherapy, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office put out a missing child alert on April 29, and said that McAdams and Bland-Ball “refused to follow-up with the life-saving medical care the child needs.”
After they found the family in Kentucky, police took away custody and temporarily placed Noah with his grandparents.
The family’s attorney said that the couple want to treat his cancer with medical marijuana, CBD oil, a diet change and vitamins. But Bland-Ball said that their legal fight is not about the treatment plan.
“This is not about whether we’re choosing natural therapies, alternative therapies,” she told Good Morning America. “This is about our rights as parents to seek other options.”
The family went to trial in May, where the state of Florida had two doctors argue that chemotherapy was immediately necessary and that Noah is at risk, while the parents and their lawyer brought in a family that said chemo nearly killed their daughter, according to WFTS in Tampa.
The judge ruled that Noah must complete an additional 28 days of chemotherapy, after which doctors will reevaluate him and see if he still has cancer. During that time, his parents could have used alternative treatments — including medical marijuana — if cleared by his doctors. They could have also found a new doctor.
At Monday’s ruling, NBC News reported Brooke Elvington, a lawyer for MCaDams and Bland, said that Noah’s parents agreed to continue his chemotherapy along with CBD and THC oil. However, Palermo stood by his ruling.
“Without law enforcement intervention, Noah would still be deprived of necessary medical care,” Palermo added.
Noah’s parents have 30 days to appeal the decision, should they want to, or they may set up a case plan to work toward being reunified with their son, Moore told PEOPLE.