When doctors told one Florida couple that chemo was the only way to save their toddler’s life, they had no idea that refusing could have such dire consequences.
When 3-year-old Noah was diagnosed with cancer in his blood and bone marrow in April, his parents were understandably distraught. Doctors told Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball that chemo was the only way to save the toddler’s life, but they opposed the treatment.
While the couple was in court this week to resist the state’s insistence that the boy undergoes chemo, they said they would instead give little Noah CBD, despite being threatened with loss of custody. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, which is considered by some to have medicinal qualities and potential anti-cancer properties.
According to a News10 report, Noah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He underwent two rounds of chemo which left him weak and lifeless. His parents took the step of giving him CBD, vitamins, and put him on a strict diet. Taylor told reporters, “We just want one of the therapies less drastic than chemotherapy. I want my son home and for him to be treated with a treatment that is not going to damage his little body so much,” she said.
When Noah’s parents could no longer watch their son suffer from chemotherapy and failed to show for the third round of treatment, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) got involved and issued an endangered child alert.
The family had fled and was found in a motel room in Georgetown, Kentucky. When they were returned to Florida, temporary custody of Noah was granted to his maternal grandparents.
The DCF appealed to the court to try and force Noah to undergo the treatment recommended by his specialists and was successful with their motions. At the hearing, the family’s attorney, Michael Minardi, told Circuit Judge Caroline Tesche Arkin that he needed more time to prepare his case and for a postponement of the case.
That request was promptly declined, and the courtroom cleared out. The state’s attorney, Nancy Lawler felt Noah’s privacy was at stake, and she didn’t want to sway the case in any way.
However, Noah’s parents explained that they wished for the press to remain in the courtroom so the public could be informed about the proceedings. “This is another attempt by (the state) and the guardian ad litem to thwart justice, to thwart this child’s ability to have his voice heard,” Minardi said.
The media was removed from the court by the judge, and the hearing was closed to the public. The hearing was also recessed until next week. Minardi explained further that Noah’s parents have already applied for a medical cannabis license for him.
Doctors from Florida are also set to appear in court when the hearing takes place to testify to the potential positive medicinal effects of cannabis for treating cancer and its symptoms. Minardi said the family hopes these medical experts will “get this court to realize that that is a far superior treatment to chemotherapy at this point in time.”
Unfortunately, it appears the statistics are against Noah at the moment. According to a Tampa Bay Times report, Dr. Bijal D. Shah, the head of the Moffitt Cancer Center’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia program, said the cure rate for this type of cancer is 90 percent with chemo for a period of 2.5 years. That means the state could remove Noah from his parents’ custody and force him to go through years of chemotherapy, instead of the CBD treatments they chose for him.
It remains to be seen what the outcome of Noah’s case will be. But it certainly raises some vital, albeit painful, questions about standard medical treatments as opposed to unconventional alternatives. It also highlights the very real possibility that parents may lose custody of their children should they opt for more natural remedies like CBD.
Please note, we are NOT suggesting that anyone forgo important medical care and use cannabis products instead. If you are suffering from a serious medical condition, make sure to speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your treatment plan.