Judge Rules that Denying Boy Chemotherapy is Child Neglect

Judge Rules that Denying Boy Chemotherapy is Child Neglect May 8, 2019
Taylor Bland and Joshua Mcadams in St. Petersburg, Florida.


A judge in Tampa, Florida ruled that a three-year-old boy with leukemia must undergo chemotherapy. The ruling followed a nearly two week battle between the parents and the state over the treatment of Noah McAdams’ illness. Judge Caroline Tesche Arkin agreed with the county that denying the boy chemotherapy is child neglect.

In a stunning court ruling, the judge ruled that 3-year-old Noah McAdams’ must undergo the first round of chemotherapy for 28 days. Additionally, the judge is allowing the parents to use alternative treatments for their son including CBD oil.

During a press conference, attorney Michael Minardi shared the ruling. According to the attorney, Noah will undergo the first full round of chemotherapy. The treatment is expected to last 28-days. While doctors treat Noah with chemotherapy, his family is permitted to use alternative treatments like CBD.

“It is a mixed bag in that we obviously have to watch this child go through chemotherapy, but we know that, at least with the use of cannabis and other treatment that the child will hopefully be able to deal with the chemotherapy better than not having those alternative treatments available,” attorney Michael Minardi offered.

For nearly two weeks, Taylor Bland and Joshua McAdams have been fighting to stop their son from undergoing chemotherapy. The story made international headlines after the couple left Florida to avoid a court order to resume Noah’s chemotherapy.

On Monday, April 29, police in Kentucky located the couple at a hotel with their son. Through social media and press conferences, Taylor Bland has said they went to Kentucky to seek a second opinion. The parents objected to the use of chemotherapy due to the side effects.

In multiple posts on social media, the mother stated the family intended to treat Noah’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia with CBD, colloidal silver, grapefruit peels, and apricot seeds.

After a court hearing last week, attorney Michael Minardi seemed confident that Noah the judge would rule in the parents’ favor.

However, the judges in the case have hit the parents with two losses. Last week a judge issued temporary custody of Noah to his grandparents. Bland and McAdams’ can see him through approved visits by the county.

Earlier this week, the parents rallied in front of the hospital. The couple denounced the hospital for poor standards of care and held up signs that showed the side effects of chemotherapy.

Despite their protests, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Caroline Tesche Arkin ruled against them again today. Noah will undergo at least the first round of chemotherapy. Their attorney said the ruling only covered the first round.

During the hearing, the county argued that chemotherapy is necessary for Noah’s survival. Judge Arkin agreed with the county that denying Noah McAdams chemotherapy is child neglect.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia has a 90% survival rate with chemotherapy, radiation, and bone marrow transplants. The treatment is arduous and requires 2.5 years to complete. However, children that go through the full treatment have a high rate of survival.

The Food and Drug Administration does not approve medical marijuana for the treatment or cure of leukemia. Attorney Michael Minardi said in a press conference that studies completed in Isreal prove that CBD can cure cancer. When pressed by the media for citations, Minardi was unable to provide the details.

For now, Noah McAdams will survive for at least another month. He will get life-saving chemotherapy that will help him beat leukemia. Hopefully, a judge will rule for additional rounds after the first round is over.

Taylor Bland live streamed on Facebook. In her live stream, she vowed to keep fighting against chemotherapy. She reminded everyone that this is only for the “induction phase.” A judge will need to rule on the next phase of treatment once Noah finishes the first phase.

The parents did not regain custody of their son. He will remain with his grandmother until the court determines the parents’ rights. Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office is still investigating Bland and McAdams for child neglect charges.

*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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  • frostysnowman


  • karmacat

    Oncologists spend years of education and practice learning how to treat cancer. They follow the research on what treatments work and which ones don’t work. Yet, some people think they can just watch a bunch of youtube videos and completely know more about cancer than oncologists. And of course they think the videos they watch are all they need. They stop looking for other sources of information that could help them understand the treatments that are recommended. Also these parents have missed the whole idea of weighing risks versus benefits. There are risks to treatment but there is almost certainly death without it.

  • persephone

    I hope Noah sues his parents when he gets older.

  • WallofSleep
  • markr1957

    Misinformed refusal sounds a lot worse than treatment without the consent of proven idiots. Thankfully the courts acted in the best interests of the child.

  • Amused To Death

    Who’s paying for these treatments?

  • firebubbles310

    Worst thing is when this poor boy does die because of his parents’ stupidity, they will blame the chemo and feel vindicated. I hate this planet.

  • Delta

    So… the judge ruled that as long as the kid receives actual medical treatments, the parents can give him cyanide too if they want?

  • Jennny

    This is excellent news, that the best treatment in medicine globally is hopefully going to save this 3yo’s life. One wonders how he will view his parents’ horrible attempts to block this in years to come. He must already be picking up vibes from his parents and be confused by what’s going on as he’s been given to g/parents. I do hope counselling will be available to him later to help him come to terms with the separation and with his parents callous death-wish attitude towards him.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    In a stunning court ruling,

    I don’t think it’s stunning at all. I am not surprised. Courts follow standard recommendations from medical professionals, and defer to the CDC and FDA. If the FDA says that something is not a treatment for cancer, family court judges aren’t going to say that it is. Similarly, judges will expect that all children in the system are up to date on vaccination.

  • Friend

    One time at a hospital I saw a wall chart of chemo drugs. Just that one chart was astoundingly complex.

  • Friend

    The couple … held up signs that showed the side effects of chemotherapy.

    Hmm. I’m sure there are lots of gross pictures out there of bald heads and maybe some lesions. On the other hand, people recover from the side effects. People don’t recover from being dead.

  • phatkhat

    Hopefully not. I’m hoping just the CBD. There actually IS some evidence that THC (absent from CBD) may kill some kinds of cancer cells. It is a promising avenue, but not fully explored. With our insane rules in the US, about research on marijuana’s medical uses, most of the research is conducted in Europe.

    It would be wonderful if marijuana turns out to be a medical breakthrough, but just willy-nilly trying to use it for more than anti-nausea or pain relief at this point is foolish. The dosages will need to be worked out, as well as the method of delivery. Evidently, THC was effective when delivered directly into a brain tumor in a number of cases. But how do you do this to leukemia?

    Using amygdalin/B17/Laetrile which all = cyanide is absolutely insane.

  • phatkhat

    What difference does it make? A child’s life is at stake.

  • Friend

    I don’t know what the question means, but the parents might need to take deliberate action to keep the child covered by insurance, if only by signing a piece of paper once a year. They could potentially extend their “protest” to rejecting the paperwork and thus try to slow-roll the treatment. I hope they are not that foolish. In any case, Noah is famous now, and I don’t think the court would let them interfere in such a way.

  • Friend

    “Best interests of the child” is such an important legal concept, and so unevenly defined and applied.

  • phatkhat

    If the state does not restore custody to the parents, I’d think Medicaid would cover him.

  • Friend

    Whatever insurance he has will not cover the cyanide and weed byproducts.

  • phatkhat

    Nope. Maybe when medical marijuana is accepted, but certainly not cyanide!

  • Delta

    I hope so too. A court agreeing to allow parents to give a child cyanide is terrifying.

    So no evidence for CBD in treatment for cancer? That’s interesting.

    And even if it can help, I worry about the risks of using THC in a child that young.

  • phatkhat

    I haven’t researched CBD that much, so not sure if it has any medical powers. I had read about the treatment of brain cancer some time ago, and just read more the other day. Evidently some European researcher accidentally discovered that THC killed cancer cells they were using in a separate experiment. They were a specific type of brain cancer. They injected THC directly into the tumors and I’m not sure if it cured the patients or simply shrank the tumors. If THC would kill a terminal cancer growth, I’d think it was the lesser of the evils! More research needs to be done, if the US government would get off the drug war.

    Alas, the war on drugs has two excellent side benefits for the powers that be. One is that they obtain a reasonably non-violent prison population of marijuana users who can be used for cheap labor. Then, since most of the incarcerees are POC, it eliminates a large voting bloc that doesn’t vote for the current Establishment. As long as the WoD serves this purpose, it is unlikely to change.

  • therealcie

    Marijuana has been shown to shrink certain types of tumors, such as oat cell carcinomas and it can help ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea. I used to be a homecare nurse, and one of the kids I worked with was a boy with a very rare disease which caused him to have frequent seizures. With the use of CBD oil, he was able to be weaned off all but two of the seizure medications he was on and became much more alert. I am a big proponent of marijuana as a therapeutic medication.
    However, none of the treatments the parents mentioned are cures for leukemia.
    The type of leukemia this child has responds very well to modern chemotherapy treatments.
    I’m all for alternative medicine where possible, but these parents would have signed their child’s death warrant when medical treatment gives him an excellent chance for survival. They are not thinking clearly about this matter.

  • Martin Penwald

    A research center on marijuana effects just opened last week in Canada, the first there.

  • al kimeea

    In Ontario, the court ruled two indigenous families could choose traditional medicine over chemo for their 11 year old daughters similarly afflicted as this poor wee bairn with idiots for parents. So they went to a traditional quack farm for cold laser & whole foods therapy. One girl died after being told in a dream by the traditional indigenous god – Jesus – she was cured.

    Lucky for the other girl, her parents reacted by getting her back on real medicine.

  • sapphiremind

    Definitely not a stunning decision. Case law is very settled on this: you can refuse any treatment for yourself, but you cannot refuse treatments for your child, provided the treatment is not experimental or with a low success rate. Children are not property and have rights outside of the parents. With a treatment protocol like this that is so successful, there is zero chance in hell of them being able to refuse.

  • Lark62

    What a repulsive question. What is the upper limit on the value of the life of a little boy?

    If we had a decent healthcare system im this country, that question would not even be asked.

  • Amused To Death

    But we don’t have a decent system so the question does need to be asked. Is the state paying for the treatments ordered? Is the hospital doing it pro bono? Will their insurance cover it?