The parents of a 4-year-old Florida boy suffering from leukemia — and who “refused” to allow their son to undergo chemotherapy — will not regain custody of the child, a judge ruled Monday.
Joshua McAdams, 28, and Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, intentionally deprived their son, Noah, of legitimate medical treatment and sought natural remedies after he was diagnosed with cancer in April, according to Judge Thomas Palermo, who said there is “imminent risk of neglect” if the boy stays with his parents.
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“Parents have a fundamental right to parent their child, but that is not one without limits,” Palermo said, according to WTVT. “They were choosing between life and death for their child.”
Noah underwent two rounds of chemotherapy before his parents stopped bringing him to treatments. The judge said the particular type of chemotherapy has a 90 to 95 percent success rate — and emphasized that “there was no alternative with a remote chance of success.”
Florida law enforcement issued an endangered child alert after McAdams and Bland-Ball failed to bring Noah to scheduled chemotherapy treatments, which were described as a “medically necessary hospital procedure.”
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The couple were later found in Georgetown, Ky., and the family then returned to Tampa, Fla.
Palermo said Monday the couple didn’t appear to have plans for Noah to be treated in Kentucky and, going a step further, detailed what appeared to be active steps to avoid such treatment–the parents abandoned a car and their cell phones while traveling, removed the boy’s PICC line and consciously eluded law enforcement.
Noah’s parents, however, say the state is making it seem like they are refusing all medical care when they instead want to pursue “better treatment” options. McAdams, according to the Tampa Bay Times, said in court in May they were treating their son with CBD oil, fresh foods and alkaline water.
“They made it seem like we were trying to run away, like we were trying to seek no treatment whatsoever, and that is completely not the case,” Bland-Ball told WTVT. “We want better treatment than what we were receiving.”
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She said in court in August she didn’t think she “could ever be comfortable just fully putting these things into my son’s body that I didn’t know what exactly they were.”
The judge ruled Noah will remain in the custody of his maternal grandmother for the time being. McAdams and Bland-Ball will have the opportunity to regain custody by cooperating with child protection agencies and complying with their recommendations.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.