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Judge rules 3-year-old must continue chemotherapy over parents' objections

Judge rules 3-year-old must continue chemotherapy over parents' objections

A 3-year-old boy with leukemia must continue chemotherapy despite his parents’ wishes for him to use alternative treatments, a Florida judge ruled Wednesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Caroline Tesche Arkin ruled that the boy, Noah McAdams, must resume the first phase of treatment despite his parents’ desire to use natural remedies and medical marijuana to treat his cancer. Arkin did not rule on whether McAdams must complete the second and third rounds of chemotherapy, according to the newspaper.

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“The best thing about this ruling is she didn't chart the course for 3½ years,” the parents’ lawyer, Michael Minardi, said. “She charted this course for the first phase of chemotherapy only and encouraged the parties to get together and talk about other possibilities.”

McAdams’s parents, Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball, said their son underwent two rounds of chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., last month but said they decided to terminate the treatment, concerned about side effects.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office issued an endangered child alert on April 29, saying the parents “refused to follow up with lifesaving medical care that the child needs” and child protective investigators got a court order to take Noah McAdams into custody, according to the Times.

Authorities later found the family in Kentucky and took them into custody, although the parents have said they were going to consult with a Cincinnati doctor rather than attempting to flee.

Under the ruling, McAdams must resume chemotherapy at All Children’s as early as Thursday, although his parents will be allowed to continue looking into other treatment options and seek a second opinion, their lawyer told the newspaper. McAdams will remain with his grandparents in the meantime.

Dr. Bijal Shah, head of the Moffitt Cancer Center’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia program, told the Times a full regimen of chemotherapy initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis can cure over 90 percent of cases of the type of leukemia McAdams has.