The 3-year-old Florida boy whose parents refused to continue chemotherapy to fight his leukemia in favor of natural remedies must resume his cancer treatment, a judge has ruled.
A Hillsborough County judge ruled Wednesday Noah McAdams, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April, must complete at least the first phase of prescribed chemotherapy treatment, CNN reported.
Noah’s parents, Taylor Bland and Joshua McAdams, had asked the court to allow them to first try alternative treatments, including vitamins, a special diet and medicinal cannabis, in lieu of chemotherapy to fight the cancer, officials said.
The judge’s ruling noted Noah’s mother and father can pursue other alternatives while he continues treatment.
Noah has two more chemotherapy sessions as part of his first phase of treatment, after which a judge will decide if he must continue with two more phases of treatment as originally prescribed.
The judge’s decision will be made after Noah undergoes bone marrow testing, CNN reported.
"We're just happy the child gets to use alternative treatment, at a minimum to combat side effects of chemotherapy and at a maximum help cure the leukemia in his body,” family attorney Mike Minardi said.
Bland and McAdams have also been granted unsupervised visitation with Noah, who has been in state custody while in the care of his maternal grandmother since April 30.
Officials found Noah and his parents in Kentucky April 29 after he missed a scheduled treatment at the hospital a week earlier. Bland and McAdams reportedly said they were unaware they weren’t allowed to leave the state and they were planning to visit a doctor in Cincinnati that week.
The couple’s supporters have called the state’s taking custody of Noah a “medical kidnapping,” a term becoming common in circles skeptical of traditional medical care when authorities take strong steps to ensure a child receives such care when it is believed to be necessary.
But experts have warned against prematurely stopping treatment for the type of cancer with which Noah was diagnosed, as doing so can allow cancer thought to be gone to actually come back.
Bijal D. Shah, who leads Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia program, told the Tampa Bay Times the treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia that Noah was slated to undergo has a cure rate of 90 percent, but can require 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy.
“I put it in the same box as those who fear vaccination,” he said. “The reality is, what we risk by not taking chemotherapy, just as what we risk by not taking vaccines, is much, much worse.”
The next court dates are June 4 and 5.