The custody battle for 4-year-old Noah McAdams went to trial this week in Tampa, Florida. Parents Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball testified before the court about their decision to deny their son life-saving chemotherapy. The couple’s story became international headlines in April when they fled the state of Florida to avoid a scheduled cancer treatment for their son.
On the witness stand, Joshua McAdams appeared defiant and irritated with the Assitant Attorney General Kenneth Beck. During his testimony, McAdams answered questions related to his violent past and decision not to treat his son’s leukemia.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Beck focused on a 2016 arrest of Joshua McAdams for domestic violence. Joshua McAdams admitted to throwing a toy bucket at his girlfriend, Taylor Bland-Ball during an argument. The bucket hit their one-year-old son Noah in the face and caused a laceration.
After throwing the bucket, McAdams threw Bland-Ball into a wall multiple times. McAdams admitted to throwing the bucket and the altercation. However, he told the court he completed anger management classes and learned from his mistake.
Beck brought up another violent incident by McAdams that occurred as a teenager. The father admitted he hit a toy with a bat through a window which caused the window to break. According to the prosecutor, the incident led to Joshua McAdams being held involuntarily for a psychiatric evaluation.
Then Beck turned his questions to the April incident that led to the couple fleeing the state to Kentucky to avoid chemotherapy for their son Noah. In April, doctors diagnosed 4-year-old Noah with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. At the time of his admission to the hospital, Noah was near death and required several blood transfusions to save his life.
Initially, the parents consented to the first round of chemotherapy. After the hospital released Noah, the parents failed to bring him to his next scheduled chemotherapy appointment. Instead, they fled the state to Kentucky to seek a second opinion from an osteopathic doctor that uses unproven alternative methods to treat cancer.
Joshua McAdams told the court that he didn’t trust the doctors treating his son. He said their body language and attitude rubbed him the wrong way. Additionally, he admitted that his girlfriend Taylor Bland-Ball removed a PICC line from their son’s arm.
Following McAdam’s testimony, a medical expert testified about the risk of removing a PICC line. The expert stated that PICC lines are extremely dangerous to remove without proper training. She continued by noting that the parents could have left fragments of the line in Noah’s artery that could have led to an infection.
During the first day of testimony, Taylor Bland Ball’s mother, Amanda Jordan told the court about her daughter’s abusive relationship. Jordan stated that her daughter had bruises following the 2016 incident. Additionally, Jordan said that Joshua McAdams often demeans and criticizes Taylor.
Taylor’s grandmother, Joyce Bland, testified that McAdams belittled and isolated her grandaughter.
“He always spoke to her as if belittling her, calling her names,” Joyce Bland said.
“I don’t think I could ever be comfortable just fully putting these things into my son’s body that I didn’t know what exactly they were, that no one had really explained to me but I thought that it was more risky to not do it at the time,” Bland-Ball said.
During her testimony, Bland-Ball seemed to take no responsibility for the risk she put her son through by delaying his treatment. The state focused part of the day on the impact the parent’s choice to delay cancer treatment could have on the boy’s long term success of beating the disease.
The first day of testimony wrapped up with Taylor Bland-Ball. She will continue her testimony today and describe her decision to flee the state.
After the trial completes today, the judge will have 30-days to make a ruling on the custody of Noah McAdams. Based on how the first day of testimony went, Noah McAdams’ reunification with his parents seems doubtful.
Since his removal from his parents in April, he has been living with his maternal grandmother Amanda Jordan. Family sources say that Noah McAdams is responding well to treatment and thriving in the care of his grandmother.
This story is developing.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles related to trending topics and crime on her column.
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