(NEW YORK) — A court has denied parents custody of their 4-year-old son with cancer after the Florida couple stopped chemotherapy treatments earlier this year.
Hillsborough County Judge Thomas Palermo announced the ruling to parents Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball Monday afternoon. Their son, Noah McAdams, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in early 2019. McAdams and Bland-Ball stopped the child’s chemotherapy two days into treatment.
Bland-Ball could be seen crying after the ruling was announced.
The child will remain in the custody of his grandparents. However, the state does still have the option of returning custody to the parents in the future, the judge said. Palermo said the ruling was not a punishment, but instead done to protect the child.
Instead of chemo, McAdams and Bland-Ball turned to medical marijuana and CBD oil — the increasingly popular cannabis extract that’s sold over the counter.
“He had vicious mood swings, making him violent, making him very emotional, and he also started to lose his hair right away after the first treatment,” Bland-Ball said of her son in an interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America in August.
McAdams and Bland-Ball took Noah to Kentucky where they sought a second opinion. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office had asked for the public’s help to locate the family after McAdams and Bland-Ball failed to bring Noah to the hospital for a medically necessary procedure on April 22.
“The parents have further refused to follow up with the life saving medical care the child needs,” the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. “The parents have possible criminal child neglect charges pending.”
The parents were found one week later and the state of Florida placed Noah in the custody of his grandparents, who were ordered in May to resume chemotherapy.
Multiple hearings have since been held as McAdams and Bland-Ball fought to regain custody.
Dr. Bijal D. Shah, head of the Moffitt Cancer Center’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia program, said the current protocol for treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia has a 90 percent cure rate for patients who follow the treatment plan.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital confirmed this statistic for GMA.
Noah has been receiving both chemotherapy and CBD for treatment.