TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Hillsborough County judge delayed the hearing to decide if a couple will be reunited with their 3-year-old boy, who was removed from their care in a dispute over medical treatment.
Child protective investigators with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said the child, Joshua Mcadams, whose parents call him Noah, needed to continue cancer treatment. According to deputies, Noah's father and mother, Joshua McAdams, 28, and Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, failed to bring him to a scheduled, court-ordered, and medically-necessary hospital procedure April 22.
Instead, the family fled to Kentucky to seek alternative medical treatments, sparking a multi-state search.
As they awaited Wednesday's hearing, McAdams and Bland-Ball discussed their decision.
"They made it seem like we were trying to run away, like we were trying to seek no treatment whatsoever, and that is completely not the case. We want better treatment than what we were receiving," Bland-Ball said. "We just want him to be healthy, happy, and with his family that's going to give him the absolute best care."
Noah was diagnosed with Leukemia and, according to his parents, was declared cancer-free following two rounds of chemotherapy. Doctors wanted to continue treatment, but Noah's parents wanted to look elsewhere.
Bland-Ball said she and Noah's father have concerns about additional chemotherapy.
"We were just trying to get him something better with less side effects and less long-term damage for his body," she said.
A judge ordered Noah's parents to bring him back. Authorities in Kentucky removed Noah from their custody. The parents, however, have not been charged with a crime, although the Hillsborough deputies have said neglect charges are possible.
"We basically just feel like this is our [parental] rights just being stomped all over," Bland-Ball said.
"We thought that they were blowing it way out of proportion."
FOX 13's Dr. Joette Giovinco said, the medical treatment Noah was likely receiving is based on years of research and has proven to be successful.
"Even though there's no detectable signs of cancer, it does not mean that there are not cancer cells hiding. And so when you treat this type of Leukemia, you treat to remission and then you have to continue treating to make sure it doesn't relapse," Dr. Jo said. "This is a treatment plan that has proven to be effective in not only eliminating cancer initially but also long-term keeping it from coming back. It doesn't mean that it won't but, generally speaking, when cancers do relapse they're harder to treat."
Bland-Ball and McAdams said they have not been told where their son currently is or who was caring for him.
The parents' hearing has been delayed until Friday, when a judge may decide whether Noah should be returned to his parents for now.