Taylor Bland-Ball and Joshua McAdams lost custody of their young son, Noah, after a judge ruled that they had denied the boy life-saving medical treatments. The little boy, who is 4 years old, is being cared for by his maternal grandparents.
Bland and McAdams have long denied the accusation. Their son underwent chemotherapy treatments after he was first diagnosed with leukemia in April of 2019. The family then traveled to Kentucky to pursue alternative remedies, which prompted an investigation and a “missing child” alert for Noah.
The parents agreed to continue chemotherapy, reported NBC News. But on September 9, Hillsborough County circuit court judge Thomas Palermo ruled that Noah should stay with his grandparents for his own safety.
Bland and McAdam’s attorney, Brooke Elvington, explained that they plan to take the case to the Second District Court of Appeals. In an email to Heavy, Elvington added, “We remain adamant that the parents’ conduct did not constitute neglect pursuant to Florida law and that the final order contains a number of legal errors. We will continue to fight for Noah’s return to his parents. ”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Deputies: An Investigation Into Noah McAdams’ Parents Began After They Skipped a ‘Medically Necessary Hospital Procedure’
Doctors diagnosed Noah McAdams with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on April 4, 2019, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by his mother. The child underwent at least two chemotherapy treatments, but his parents weren’t convinced that it was the best option.
Taylor Bland wrote of the hospital experience on the GoFundMe page, “Our whole stay was absolutely terrible with lack of communication, poor infection control, no informed consent on procedures and drugs, rude staff and dangerous mistakes on the hospitals end.”
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s department, Bland and McAdams missed one of Noah’s scheduled appointments for a “medically necessary hospital procedure” on April 22. Deputies issued a Missing Endangered Child alert for Noah and said the parents had “refused to follow up with the life saving medical care the child needs.”
2. Deputies Found the Family in Kentucky; Bland & McAdams First Lost Custody of Noah in Late April 2019
The Hillsborough County Child Protective Investigations Division received a court order to take custody of Noah McAdams after his parents failed to bring him to a medical appointment. But the family had left their home in Tampa, which prompted the missing endangered child alert.
Investigators found Taylor Bland, Joshua McAdams, and Noah a few days later in Georgetown, Kentucky. Sheriff’s deputies did not provide details as to how the initial confrontation with the family went. During the search, the department had warned that McAdams was armed.
Noah was placed in the care of his grandparents in early May of 2019. Over the next several months, Bland and McAdams could visit Noah and accompany him to medical appointments as the case progressed.
3. Bland & McAdams Have Argued That Alternative Methods Such as Cannabis Treatments & Vitamins Are Better For Their Son Than Chemotherapy
Taylor Bland has insisted that when she and McAdams traveled to Kentucky with Noah, they were not denying him life-saving treatment. She has argued that they wanted a second opinion about the diagnosis and the recommended treatment.
On April 16, a few days before missing a scheduled appointment, Bland claimed that Noah’s cancer had been cured; this was just a couple of weeks after the original diagnosis. Bland wrote, “We busted on out of that hospital – with no cancer cells left to spare.”
She claimed that alternative remedies had been the answer. “For those asking, we did two rounds of chemotherapy, specifically vincristine because they can get a medical court order to force you to do it anyways for a child with his diagnosis, we also used rosemary, Vitamin B Complex, including B17, completely alkaline diet, Rosemary, a liver/kidney/gallbladder/blood herbal extract, daily colloidal silver, high dose vitamin c, collagen, Reishi mushroom tea and grapefruit peel and breastmilk!”
Bland also posted on Facebook about seeking cannabis treatments for Noah. Attorney Brooke Elvington confirmed to NBC News that Noah received CBD and THC oil in addition to chemotherapy.
Doctors disagree with Bland’s assessment. During the custody trial, a doctor testified that the chemotherapy Noah received had a 90 to 95 percent success rate, reported WFLA-TV. Judge Palermo stated in court that “there was absolutely no evidence presented at the dependency trial that any alternative therapy offered any actual effective treatment for Noah McAdams’ cancer.”
On September 9, Judge Palermo decided that Noah should remain in the care of his grandparents. He explained that his decision was based on the belief that Bland and McAdams would “deprive” the child of “necessary medical care” if they regained custody.
4. Supporters of Bland & McAdams Argue That the State Has Engaged in a ‘Medical Kidnapping’
Taylor Bland and Joshua McAdams’ custody battle attracted the attention of the Florida Freedom Alliance. The group referred to the situation as a “medical kidnapping” and argued that Noah’s parents have the right to choose the treatments he receives.
The organization further argued on its site, “Chemotherapy drugs and coinciding protocols are risky and carry many dangerous side effects, including secondary malignancies and death. Any parent is reasonable to have concerns about the use of these poisonous agents for their child. Adult cancer patients are allowed the freedom to explore alternative treatments, to pursue second opinions, to pick and choose which actions they do or do not take to address their disease. This same liberty should be given to children and their families…
Coercing families to accede to their children undergoing medical treatment they are not comfortable with is a direct violation of human rights, informed consent, Nuremberg Code of Ethics, and frightful abuse of the government’s authority. The only ones neglecting Noah are the ones who assisted in having him ripped away from his loving, healing parents.”
On its website, the Florida Freedom Alliance also claimed that Noah’s additional chemotherapy treatments were unnecessary once he was in remission. Dr. Bijal Shah of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, however, counteracts that argument. Dr. Shah explained that Noah’s leukemia requires “maintenance chemotherapy” over the course of at least two years in order to prevent him from relapsing.
5. Taylor Bland Describes Herself as a ‘Holistic Birth Attendant’ on Facebook; Joshua McAdams Was Arrested in 2016 After Accidentally Harming Noah During a Domestic Dispute: Report
Taylor Bland-Ball is an advocate for using natural remedies for healing, according to her social media pages. She refers to herself as a “Birthkeeper” and a “Holistic Birth Attendant.”
On her LinkedIn profile, which appears to have been last updated in 2017, Bland wrote that she studied pediatric nursing at the University of South Florida. She wrote that she was a “holistic doula and CNA. What does holistic mean to me? It means focusing not only on your visible health needs and issues that can be physical seen and felt, but focusing on the full circle of your life. Your relationship, your nutrition, your environment etc. It is so important to include all these things as they can make a vast difference in your health and baby’s health.”
Her husband, Joshua McAdams, has been less vocal online about the fight for custody of Noah. But it appears he may have jeopardized his custody rights when Noah was still a baby. According to the Tampa Bay Times, McAdams was accused of domestic battery against Bland in 2016. He allegedly threw a plastic toy bucket at Bland but struck his son instead, cutting the baby’s face. The Times reported that McAdams spent three days in jail and Bland requested a protection order against him. But the case was dropped in 2017.