A toddler with leukemia has been taken from his parents after they removed him from a Florida hospital and denied him lifesaving medical care in favor of herbal remedies, according to police.
Authorities appealed to the public after 3-year-old Joshua “Noah” McAdams’s mother and father allegedly failed to bring their little boy to the hospital for a “medically necessary” procedure April 22.
“MISSING ENDANGERED CHILD!” read an alert put out by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
It didn’t take long until Noah and parents, Joshua McAdams, 27, and Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, were found in Georgetown, Kentucky.
“He is in need of medical attention, but safe,” police said of Noah, whose parents were being investigated on suspicion of child neglect.
Noah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last month, according to his mother.
“Please continue your prayers, love and good energy,” she wrote on Facebook April 4.
Less than two weeks later, Bland-Ball claimed Noah was cancer-free.
“We busted out of that hospital – with no cancer cells left to spare,” she wrote.
Bland-Ball said Noah underwent two rounds of chemotherapy, noting it was “because they can get a medical court order to force you to do it anyways for a child with his diagnosis,” but said he also benefited from holistic treatment.
Rosemary, colloidal silver, vitamins B, B17 and C, collagen, reishi mushroom tea and grapefruit peel were among the home remedies his mother gave him, she wrote.
But police characterized Noah’s parents’ choices concerning his care very differently.
“The parents have further refused to follow up with the lifesaving medical care the child needs,” the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said April 22.
Bland-Ball has continued to take to social media to document her feelings on the matter, as well as share updates on her and her husband’s status.
“Thank you so much for your support,” Bland-Ball, a holistic doula, wrote April 30. “Our hearts our broken and all we want is for our boy to get HEALTHY BIOLOGICALLY SOUND TREATMENT. No neglect here considering his levels are the best they’ve ever been and still cancer free after two weeks without chemotherapy - shocker! Thank you for standing with us!”
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.
Supporters have raised more than $14,000 for “Noah’s Freedom Fund,” which will go toward supporting his family in their “fight for medical freedom,” the fundraiser said. They also plan to rally in St. Petersburg, Florida, Saturday.
“There are so many FDA Approved treatment options that are not chemo that we are open to … This case though IS going to make people concerned about willingly taking their kids to the doctor if they force chemo on him and that's not what we intend!!!” Bland-Ball wrote Thursday. “Parents shouldn’t have to be scared to take their child to the doctor because things like this shouldn’t happen!!”
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.”
Noah’s parents said they have not seen him since he was taken into state custody.
“I miss my sweet, smart boy so much,” Bland-Ball wrote Thursday.
She and McAdams are due in court for a custody hearing Friday.