Parents Who Stopped Four-Year-Old Son's Cancer Treatment Denied Custody

By Bill Galluccio

September 10, 2019

A four-year-old Florida boy who has leukemia will have to stay with his grandparents after a judge refused to grant custody of the child to his parents. Taylor Bland and Joshua McAdams lost custody of their son Noah earlier in the year after they decided to stop his chemotherapy treatment. They wanted to pursue alternative therapies and took him out of state for a second opinion.

Judge Thomas Palermo ruled that Bland and McAdams deprived their son of necessary medical care and did not believe their promises to continue with his treatment. He pointed out their attempts to evade law enforcement when they took Noah out of state and that they did not have any plans to get him legitimate medical treatment.

"Parents have a fundamental right to parent their child, but that is not one without limits," Palermo said. "They were choosing between life and death for their child."

Noah underwent two rounds of chemotherapy and was in remission when his parents decided to end the treatments. Doctors advised them against it and said the young boy required two and a half years of "maintenance chemotherapy" to ensure he remains cancer-free. The chemotherapy has 90-95% success rate, and Palermo explained that "there was no alternative with a remote chance of success."

Bland and McAdams are considering an appeal but can regain custody of Noah if they work with child protection agencies and comply with the recommendations for their son's medical care.

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