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Noah McAdams: Another story of “parental rights” to choose quackery versus the rights of a child with cancer

Noah McAdams is a three year old boy with lymphblastic leukemia. His parents want to treat him with cannabis. The court says otherwise, but not strongly enough.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about a story like this, that of a state being forced to act on behalf of a child with a potentially curable cancer because the child’s parents refuse to treat him with science-based medicine and instead have decided that they would prefer to treat him with quackery. So it was that the story of Noah McAdams, a three-year-old boy with cancer, whose story will sound all too familiar to longtime readers of this blog, came to my attention. It has been going on for a while, with the parents, Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball, continuing to fight to prevent their child from completing his life-saving treatment.

I say that Noah McAdams’ story will sound familiar to longtime readers because it has elements that, unfortunately, I’ve discussed many times before. Consider the long list of children whom I’ve written about over the years whose parents either refused to treat their children with chemotherapy or started chemotherapy and then stopped it. Several of these cases have resulted in one or both of the parents fleeing with their child, only to be located and brought back and/or court orders that the child be treated appropriately. Going back over a list of names of the children that I’ve written about who have been subjected to this sort of medical neglect is profoundly depressing: Abraham Cherrix, Katie Wernecke, Chad Jessop, Daniel Hauser, Sarah Hershberger, Cassandra Callender, and two Canadian First Nations girls, Makayla Sault, and a girl known in court documents as JJ, and others. Some, like Makayla Sault, have died. Some, like Daniel Hauser, Cassandra Callender, and JJ, as far as I know, have ultimately received treatment and lived, albeit delayed. Some, such as Abraham Cherrix, have puttered along with low grade disease for long periods of time. Some, like Sarah Hershberger, and Amish girl, have had outcomes that I have not been able to ascertain or verify but is apparently still alive. (At least she was the last time I checked, but I haven’t been able to find reliable reports since.)

Now Noah McAdams will be added to the list.

I first heard of Noah McAdams’ case last month, when I was recovering from my repairs, hence my not writing about it at the time. This week it’s found its way into the news again, leading to the usual suspects in the cancer quackosphere to rant about “medical kidnapping.” First, let’s look at the quacks’ portrayal of the story. Then we’ll look at what really happened and why the State of Florida was entirely justified in removing Noah from his parents’ care and mandating treatment.

First quack up, Mike Adams’ minion Ethan Huff on that repository of black-hole density quackery and conspiracy theories, earlier this week:

Another American family is facing a barrage of persecution from the corrupt medical establishment for refusing chemotherapy treatments for their three-year-old son, Noah – who doesn’t even have cancer, by the way.

Young Noah had previously been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, where his parents reluctantly agreed, after being intimidated and threatened by establishment doctors, to have him undergo chemotherapy treatments. After just two treatments, Noah was declared to be cancer-free, in part due to his parents’ decision to supplement his conventional treatments with dietary, vitamin, and herbal interventions.

According to Noah’s mother, Taylor, because their son received this clean bill of health, she and her husband, Joshua, decided to stop his chemotherapy treatments and continue Noah on a natural treatment regimen for maintenance and prevention purposes. But All Children’s Hospital wasn’t okay with this, to which they responded by calling Child Protective Services on the family – opening up a Pandora’s box of persecution from which the family is still trying to escape.

Yes, to Adams and his minions, it’s always “persecution” when hospitals, child protective services, and the state intervene (usually late) to save the life of a child like Noah McAdams from medical neglect. Meanwhile, Erin Elizabeth of Health Nut News, who’s also über-quack Joe Mercola’s partner, rails against a court decision this week:

We told you the story about Noah McAdams last week after he was removed from his parents custody because they didn’t want him to continue chemotherapy treatments after being given a “cancer free” diagnosis. Well, yesterday a judge in Florida ruled that a 3-year-old must continue chemotherapy treatment against the wishes of his parents.

The little one, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April, “was ordered by a Hillsborough County judge to complete at least the first phase of a prescribed chemotherapy treatment. His parents, Taylor Bland and Joshua McAdams, had asked the court to allow them to forgo chemotherapy, in favor of alternative treatments, including medicinal cannabis, vitamins and diet.”1

Sadly, while Noah must continue the chemo (poison), the judge’s ruling does allow his parents to use other natural, holistic treatments in combination with the required treatment.

Yes, where you (and, I presume, the vast majority of my readers) see two parents endangering the life of a child with cancer, quacks see grave injustice because the parents weren’t permitted to treat their child’s cancer with whatever magic they want to. As is the case with many antivaxers, these believers in alternative medicine appear to believe in absolute parental rights to treat their child medically however they deem fit. It never occurs to them that the child has rights of his own, among them the rights not to be unnecessarily subjected to deadly disease and not to die of cancer unnecessarily due to medical neglect.

We’ve heard the “health freedom” narrative. What’s the real story? Let’s start with a Washington Post story from last week:

Less than two weeks after 3-year-old Noah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, his mother claimed the cancer was gone.

“We busted out of that hospital — with no cancer cells left to spare,” Taylor Bland-Ball wrote on Facebook on April 16. “Doctors are amazed at his speedy healing and strength!”

The 22-year-old holistic birth attendant from Tampa said her son had undergone two rounds of chemotherapy — “because they can get a medical court order to force you to do it anyways for a child with his diagnosis” — but also tried a number of home remedies. Rosemary and colloidal silver, reishi mushroom tea and bitter apricot seeds, to name a few. “This is one of our many alternative therapies for healing. #NatureHeals,” she wrote.

But by Monday, police were telling a different story about Noah’s healing progress.

Here’s the Facebook post:

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia? That’s the same cancer Makayla Sault had that killed her when her treatment was interrupted because her parents decided to pursue traditional medicine instead of effective chemotherapy. So we have the unfortunately “classic” template: A young child is diagnosed with an eminently treatable and potentially curable cancer whose, enamored of “natural healing,” decide to forego or prematurely stop chemotherapy. In this case. In this case, the parents allowed two cycles of chemotherapy, after which they balked. Then, like the parents of several of the other children with cancer whose parents wanted to treat them with “natural” therapy instead of effective therapy, Noah McAdams’ parents bolted with him. The McAdams family lived in Florida, and Noah was being treated at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

When the parents didn’t bring Noah for his next round of chemotherapy, Hillsborough County Child Protective Services were notified and got a court order to take him into protective custody. Authorities issued an endangered child alert, resulting in a nationwide hunt for the child and his parents, complete with the family’s photos appearing on TV screens and websites. It didn’t take long for police to locate McAdams and Bland-Ball at a Kentucky motel. They took Noah McAdams to a hospital. After that, in a court ruling on May 2, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Lisa Campbell ruled that Noah McAdams be placed in the custody of his grandparents while legal proceedings continued. On May 8, she also ruled:

A Florida judge ruled Wednesday that a 3-year-old diagnosed with leukemia must continue chemotherapy treatment against the wishes of his parents.

Noah McAdams, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April, was ordered by a Hillsborough County judge to complete at least the first phase of a prescribed chemotherapy treatment.

His parents, Taylor Bland and Joshua McAdams, had asked the court to allow them to forgo chemotherapy, in favor of alternative treatments, including medicinal cannabis, vitamins and diet, according to CNN affiliate WFLA.

The judge’s ruling says the parents are free to pursue other alternatives while Noah continues with treatment.

Noah has two more chemotherapy sessions as a part of the first phase of his treatment, which is expected to resume Thursday, according to family attorney Mike Minardi.

He was originally prescribed three phases of chemotherapy treatment. The judge will decide whether Noah must continue with the next two phases of treatment after bone marrow testing is completed. The full chemotherapy treatment plan would last more than three years, Minardi said.


Wednesday’s decision also allows Bland and McAdams to complete Noah’s treatment at a different hospital. His parents were dissatisfied with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, and are looking to move to another oncology program, Minardi said.The hospital declined to confirm details of the situation to CNN.

I would recommend Moffitt Cancer Center, which is in nearby Tampa. It has the advantage of being a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Of course, what I suspect is that the parents are looking for a woo-friendly hospital, although it’s also likely that whatever trust there was between the Hopkins pediatric oncologists and the parents was destroyed by their acting for the good of Noah and reporting the parents after they failed to bring Noah for his appointment on April 22.

Unfortunately, another aspect of this case is that a “health freedom” organization, the Florida Freedom Alliance, has glommed onto the case, describing it thusly:

Early in April Noah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. After 2 rounds of chemotherapy, which parents reluctantly agreed to because they were told the courts could force them to comply, along with other proven therapies used to treat cancer, including very specific dietary intervention, IV vitamin therapy, herbal supplementation, and alternative therapies, Noah and his parents celebrated that his cancer was no longer being detected. Due to the laws in the US children 18 and under are required to undergo the full recommended treatment plan of the pediatric oncologist regardless of the progress or desire for alternative opinions or treatments. Yes, children are being forced to continue undergoing toxic treatments even when their bodies are free of any cancer.

This is the fundamental misunderstanding of the treatment of leukemias and lymphomas, particularly childhood leukemias and lymphomas, that drives this sort of child-endangering activism. Indeed, I’ve written about the treatment of leukemias like this one before and note that, for all my railing against parents choosing quackery over effective medicine, what’s really critical here is understanding why parents make these choices. Having a child with cancer is a horrible, terrifying thing to go through. Having to watch a child suffer the complications of chemotherapy with the child too young to understand why it’s necessary and why his parents are forcing him to suffer through it is even harder. It’s very understandable that parents with a tendency toward believing in natural medicine or with just a distrust of medical authorities in general would be tempted by the siren song of quacks claiming that they can cure the child without all the toxic side effects of chemotherapy. Hell, it’s understandable that even parents not inclined towards “natural healing” who have a solid understanding of science might start to have doubts.

In particular, it’s often hard for parents to understand why after leukemias like this frequently respond dramatically, appearing to disappear to nothing after the first couple of courses of chemotherapy, more chemotherapy is still required. Unfortunately, for most pediatric tumors it takes a lot more than just a round or two of chemotherapy, a lesson painfully learned by pioneering pediatric oncologists back in the 1960s and 1970s. For the type of tumor that Noah McAdams has, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, there are three phases of treatment:

  • Remission induction (the current phase that Noah is undergoing): The goal is to kill the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow to put the leukemia into remission.
  • Consolidation /intensification: This is the second phase of treatment and begins once the leukemia is in remission. The goal of consolidation/intensification therapy is to kill any leukemia cells that remain in the body and may cause a relapse.
  • Maintenance: This is the third phase of treatment. The goal is to kill any remaining leukemia cells that may regrow and cause a relapse. Often the cancer treatments are given in lower doses than those used during the remission induction and consolidation/intensification phases. Not taking medication as ordered by the doctor during maintenance therapy increases the chance the cancer will come back. This is also called the continuation therapy phase.

It’s easy to understand how Noah McAdams’ parents could have seen Noah’s dramatic response to chemotherapy, with all the leukemic cells seemingly gone. Unfortunately, as we now know, for many patients this remission is only temporary, hence the need for additional consolidation/intensification and maintenance therapies lasting for three years. Indeed, I’m very, very concerned about one part of the judge’s ruling, in which she stated that she will decide “whether Noah must continue with the next two phases of treatment after bone marrow testing is completed.” What if his bone marrow doesn’t show any leukemic cells? That’s no reason not to continue with the next two phases of chemotherapy. I fear very much that after Noah undergoes his next two cycles of chemotherapy, Judge Campbell will see a bone marrow aspirate with no leukemic cells and be tempted to let his parents treat him with cannabis and all the other cancer quackery they wanted to use instead of chemotherapy. I can definitely see it happening, as the judge’s ruling definitely reeks of punting the full question. She should have ruled that Noah McAdams receive the full course of treatment for his disease. Of course, Florida being Florida, there’s probably some bone-headed law that forced her to rule this way. I’ll be keeping an eye on this case.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

51 replies on “Noah McAdams: Another story of “parental rights” to choose quackery versus the rights of a child with cancer”

I wish parents like this would read the explanation, and I suspect many parents do, but these two seem inclined away from medicine to start with.

I hope this won’t be too traumatic for the little guy.

Is there a time limit on the parent’s ability to choose a new hospital, does anyone know?

The OP quotes a Washington Post article giving the mother’s occupation as “holistic birth attendant”. The qualifications for which occupation are presumably between minimal and nonexistent–if mom is 22 and the kid is 3, it’s unlikely the mother has completed any kind of post-secondary program, as she would likely have gotten pregnant either while still in high school or very shortly thereafter (assuming she actually did complete high school).

the mother’s occupation as “holistic birth attendant”

Code for “grifter”.

Somewhat OT: Piece in the NYT about what does and doesn’t work for MDs in persuading patients to do things they don’t want to do.
It’s not about countering woo or quackery, but more typical medical advice, e.g “better eating habits, more exercise, improved sleep hygiene…”. Yet, the recommendations have a lot of parallels with Rxs for dealing with vax hesitant parents.

I know I repeat my points often, but it can’t be said enough (even if the people who need to see it don’t come here):
Children are not property. Their parents hold them in trust to deliver them safely to the care of the adults they are to become.

Old Rockin’ Dave writes,

“Children are not property.” and “Their parents hold them in trust to deliver them safely to the care of the adults they are to become.”

MJD says,

Does a legal abortion in the United States of America support the notion that a child is property? Where do developing children belong?

An abortion is the act of a woman asserting, correctly, that she owns her own body and has the right to govern it as she sees that she needs to. And don’t start in with nonsense about using her body to rob jewelry stores or whatever fantastical distortions you were just thinking about throwing in here. You know damn well what I mean.

As you may recall, you stated several topics back that carbon dioxide is “colorless, tasteless, and considered an irritant.’
Taking that into account, as well as the fact that it’s gaseous, is causing the IUPAC to change its designation from CO2 to MJD.

Just you keep on distimming those doshes, and you’ll get it yet.

MJD yes its the womans property until birth and then the government can take over protecting the baby.

Legal abortion supports the notion that women aren’t property.

Yes that’s a simplistic answer to a hugely complex issue. No you shouldn’t use “abortion” as some sort of trump card to try and win a discussion (either way). By all means let’s discuss the issue, how many years do you have free to do so?

Shelly writes,

By all means let’s discuss the issue, how many years do you have free to do so?

MJD says,

Mother’s Day today (5/12/2019), thank you!

A fetus at the level of development that qualifies for a legal abortion is not a child. Stop twisting language.

You are a despicable excuse for a human being for attempting to highjack these comments about how to deal with childhood cancers with an inflammatory off topic question.

You want attention? Fine, you have mine right now.

I hope that for a moment there you felt proud.

For shame, Michael J. Dochniak. For shame.

Let’s attempt to raise the level of the “debate”. Here’s a position with which I share some ethical concerns (while not following fully the conclusions made, far from it):

And more on the topic of Orac’s post: Yeah, the parents of this cancerous kid were rather irresponsible, and what happened was legit. Which does not mean in any way that any use of medical coercion is legit, nor that it should automatically be above scrutiny. Far. From. It.

But what I’d really like in these affairs is that we stop bullshitting ourselves. Let’s indeed call that “medical kidnapping”.

For two reasons.

It is kidnapping, no matter how you want to look at it.
It is done for medical reasons, which have to be backed up transparently by sound reasoning.

So let’s be blunt with people complaining about “medical kidnapping”: Yes, it is indeed medical kidnapping, and we should definitely not shy away neither from the ethical discussions it raises, nor from using blunt and clear language when it comes to drafting laws and regulation. Parents of medically kidnapped kids will then have to explain their position ethically, instead of using rhetoric hyperbola to make their case in front of the media.

(And I do have an ethical problem with the fact that the name of this kid appears as is, and is not anonymized is the media).

To the best that I have seen, Kidnapping is something done for harmful and illicit purposes. Taking a child from the parents to save his life is rescue, not kidnapping.
Just by using the term you have already bought in to the idea that medicine is practiced for some nefarious purpose and not to save or improve lives.

Kidnapping is unlawful, so the ‘medical kidnapping’ term is obviously wrong.

If a parent loses custody of their child due to physical or sexual abuse, was there “legal kidnapping” going on? Of course not. If they lose access to their kids when they go to prison, was their child “penally kidnapped”? Nope. If they forfeit temporary custody while they undergo court-ordered therapy, was there “psychiatric kidnapping”? Again, no.

So no, I don’t think your preferred term of hysteria will catch on. What you call medical coercion is frequently appropriate, and often absolutely necessary.

Cannot reply in detail to every point in the can of worms that has been opened by my comment. I’ll just point out a few things.

“Kidnapping is unlawful, so the ‘medical kidnapping’ term is obviously wrong.”

Murder is unlawful. So should the capital punishment not be considered a “murder”? I definitely think it should be considered as murder. Considering it as “societal prophylaxis”, on the other hand, is also fraught with ideological bias. The analogy may be imperfect, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering how the use of language can be used to obscure reality.

“Just by using the term you have already bought in to the idea that medicine is practiced for some nefarious purpose and not to save or improve lives.”

I’d advise anyone not to believe that medicine is used for nefarious purposes. However, it’s not that hard to find quite a number of cases where this specific statement can be disputed. I believe that the question is more complex, and cannot be brushed away with mere statements of intentions. We need to assess what the reality of medicine is based on data, and that can quickly become messy. If you want to debate what the impact of intent (i.e. medicine claims to be good) is on matters pertaining to ethical questions and moral judgement (medicine always behaves morally and ethically), you need, I believe, to reflect on this very introductory material:

The discrepancy between intentions and consequences is the fundamental point justifying “medical kidnapping” or “medical coercion”. However, medical decisions about “medical kidnapping” and “medical coercion” are themselves also subject to the same potential discrepancy between intentions and consequences. That, itself, should not be above scrutiny. I’d argue that it currently is above scrutiny.

Do not get me wrong: my whole life, and to some extent that of my siblings, is a decades-long delirium of medical coercion. I know what I’m talking about. However, when, at age 2 and half, the clinical signs of my clinical condition started to objectively diverge from the alleged symptoms my physician mother asserted when she brought her kids to hospital (pattern which reoccured quite a lot over time), I believe that action should have been taken at one point: I believe I should definitively have been medically kidnapped. And I still do wish that it would be called medical kidnapping. I’m fine with being medically kidnapped if it could have avoided all the subsequence medical coercion I endured.

So no, I’m not against medical kidnapping. I do not believe that medicine is all bad. I believe it is sometimes heavily misguided, and that we should have clear words to talk about it instead of hiding the consequences of our moral actions behind the veil of good intentions.

“So no, I don’t think your preferred term of hysteria will catch on.”

I’m fine with it.

“What you call medical coercion is frequently appropriate, and often absolutely necessary.”

I’d broadly agree with that statement. But I really do not know what you mean by “often”, and I do not believe we have enough evidence to judge how true that specific claim is.

For a few weeks in the 1989s I filled in for the doctor running a directly observe therapy of tuberculosis. For that short time I had the power to have noncompliant patients brought in by the NYPD and kept in q locked ward. Thankfully, I never had to do that, but I agreed with the principle. It’s not kidnapping. It’s done because of the overriding need to protect the public st large.
What you call kidnapping IS rescue because of the value we as a society hold to protect children from harm.
Protecting the many, protecting the one, it’s the same thing. The first duty of anything like a government is to protect its citizens from serious harm.

“What you call kidnapping IS rescue because of the value we as a society hold to protect children from harm.”

I do not dispute that what I call “kidnapping” is often (but not always) rescue. The fact that I do not dispute that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be any value in calling it “kidnapping”. You’re just wanting words to reflect your moral understanding of things. That’s a bit self-serving, but that’s OK. I just do not think you have thought through the opposite view (which does not mean I expect you to agree with me).

Is that so complicated?

“The first duty of anything like a government is to protect its citizens from serious harm.”

I believe that freedom of expression trump safety/security as a fundamental right. Why? Because freedom of expression is the only freedom from which all others freedoms can be reconstructed. But as you’re an MD, I expect we will disagree on that point… I’d clearly trade safety for freedom of expression anytime, personally.

“I would defend the freedom of speech. And why? Because no attack can be answered by force, no argument can be refuted by a blow, or by imprisonment, or by fine. You may imprison the man, but the argument is free; you may fell the man to the earth, but the statement stands.” – Robert G. Ingersoll

I’m not an MD, I’m a PA, retired now, but still one.
There are clear limitations that any society must place on free expression. I’m sure you can list them just as well as I can. Just consider that if a society can’t protect its members from harm, free expression won’t matter. If you don’t have the right to be protected from reasonably preventable harm, none of the other rights will matter. There is also no need to define reasonably preventable harm here either, but humans being as they are, it is unlikely that you will find one of any significant size that doesn’t somehow, somewhere have a prospect of using force against transgressors. The difference between what societies resort to can be expressed with the classic 5 W’s and an H – who, what, when, where, why, and how. It’s simple reality. Transgress seriously enough and get met with some kind of coercion, and if civil remedies fail, someone will hit you with a nightstick, or shoot you, or hang you, or send you to a gulag. In theory at least, here in the US, if you resist long enough and hard enough, a parking ticket over time can escalate to a felony with all that entails.

@ F 68.10
So if parents abuse their child, child protection services aren’t allowed to take their children away, to protect the child, because this is kidnapping?
Where are the rights of the child in this vision?

“So if parents abuse their child, child protection services aren’t allowed to take their children away”

I explicitely argued the opposite: I wish had been medically kidnapped.

If you use the word kidnapping, I think of a crime, while I think protecting a child from being harmed by it’s parents, is not criminal, so using words that are used for a criminal act is wrong.
And yes, I know the idea of protecting children has been used in wrong ways, for instance with children from minorities, like the Sami in Norway and Sweden and in other instances, but just because it has been used in a wrong way in the past, means we should be more carefull, but not do nothing if a child is in danger, because it’s parents are not able to provide a save environment.

@Renate: I think I (almost) perfectly agree with you. However, it does seem to that we are talking past each other. Let’s take up up this discussion again on future blog posts, when the occasion arrises. I do not think it’s worth debating my specific point to death on this post.

@Old Rockin’ Dave: Sorry for confusing with an MD.

“I’m sure you can list them just as well as I can.”

Yes. I’m fairly well educated, so yes, I can. I also know that there are different situations depending on countries. I also know why I am opposed to some of these limitations in my own country.

“Just consider that if a society can’t protect its members from harm, free expression won’t matter. If you don’t have the right to be protected from reasonably preventable harm, none of the other rights will matter.”

I haven’t claimed that free expression is absolute. I’m claiming that 1. There are situations where safety/security trumps free expression (which is well-known), but that 2. There are situations where free expression trumps safety/security (which is much less well-known). I gave a quote to illustrate why. And yes, for example, when the right to safety/security is curtailed for whatever reason, that’s a situation where you can see that the right to free expression is more fundamental is it allows to reconstruct other rights, including the right to safety/security.

I hope I did not come out as too simplistic.

“Transgress seriously enough and get met with some kind of coercion, and if civil remedies fail, someone will hit you with a nightstick, or shoot you, or hang you, or send you to a gulag.”

I know that. But tell me: is it just a prerogative of society, with a functioning judicial system with checks and balances? Or is it legit that families/cults be given that prerogative on other members of that family/cult without checks and balances enforced by the judicial system?

Kidnapping is a legal term. In essence it consists of abduction together with false imprisonment, and while the two combined is enough to sustain the charge, it also by definition must be done outside the color of law and for an illicit purpose, like ransom, slavery, rape, murder, and whatever other mishegas twisted minds can come up with. So when you use the term, you are implying a crime that has an actual legal definition. Shooting someone in self defense is homicide, but not murder. Abducting (Itself a loaded word) someone for a legal, licit purpose means there can be no false imprisonment by definition. Taking a child out of a dangerous situation or arresting a fugitive don’t constitute kidnapping..

As to the societal use of force or coercion, I think it can be found in almost anything that constitutes a society, and that would encompass cults too. If there is a society where it’s not found, I would bet that it would be resorted to quickly enough facing enough of a transgression. Even an anarchic society would likely resort to it, if it’s anarchy in its proper meaning of being without rulers, not without rules.or expected norms.

@Old Rockin Dave: I still do think we are talking past each other on this issue of semiotics, so let’s drop the kidnapping discussion. However, I also just noticed a difference in the Wikipedia pages of kidnapping English and French. The English page indeed explicitly refers to the term kidnapping as something illegal, while the French page does not. It seems that the aspect of legality got lost in translation. The same goes with self-defense: I’d still qualify that as murder, even if legal. Perhaps that’s a way we French people view things when it comes to language. Maybe it’s a case where the Sapir-Whorfe hypothesis applies. Don’t know. That might explain why we’ve been talking past each other.

When it comes to societal violence, I do have a problem with your (seeming) view that it’s a prerogative of any groups that constitutes itself as a societal isolate, including cults. I find it plainly morally wrong. Again, I do not know whether or not it’s a cultural bias, but I’m always flabbergasted by the fact that in the US, you can do quite a lot of violence/discipline legally under the guise of, say, religion. Typically:

I was not denouncing or condoning the use of force by a society to stop transgressions of laws and/or societal norms. I’m stating it as a fact.
What I do want is a society that doesn’t impose its extralegal norms on its members,and that puts strict limits and formal requirements before force can be used in an acceptable way..
You may be relying on a different definition of the word “murder” than I am used to. There are endless statutes defining various kinds of homicide, some criminal, and some not, but murder by definition is always a crime..

OK. Fair enough and fine with me. I’ll stick to just one point.

“What I do want is a society that doesn’t impose its extralegal norms on its members,and that puts strict limits and formal requirements before force can be used in an acceptable way..”

Does the above link fit your criterion for “strict limits and formal requirements before force can be used in an acceptable way”, as you so aptly put it?

Maybe the parents should be treated with cannabis to help them mellow out.

This is the scenario where the child dies for not finishing the full chemo and then the parents turn around a blame it on the chemo. I sure hope that judge listens to the pediatric oncologists for guidance on further rulings for Noah instead of this worthless holistic crap.

Medical cannabis! The new snake oil.

I honestly know little about this but I was told by a rather exasperated neurologist that it is useful for only one type of epilepsy, not all of them. It’s also been used in palliative care for management of anorexia, nausea and vomiting and to some extent pain. Suddenly, now cannabis it used to treat just about everything.

As to “holistic birth attendant” where I come from that is called a midwife.

If you want to call yourself a midwife you have to be a certified nurse midwife or a certified midwife. There are educational requirements that have to be met for licensure.

This gal has informal training at best and a made up title. She’s not even a doula from the sound of it.

I’m sure what she lacks in professional competence she makes up for in overweening narcissism. It’s the Woo SOP.

ORD: “Children are not property. ”

“The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children.” – Sen. Rand Paul

No one owns human beings in this country. That was settled in the aftermath of the War of Southern Sedition.
And Rand Paul is an idiot. It’s a source of shame to me that Baby Doc and Papa Doc Paul are medical professionals and that therefore I am associated with them to even an infinitesimal extent.

This has always bothered me:
how did Rand Paul get into and through medical school and training for eye surgery?
He’s not the sharpest tool and he’s not that old so that he went when medical school was much lower tech.

What do they call the guy who graduated last in his class at medical school?


I know it’s an old joke. I have to laugh so I don’t cry.

You can get an idea of what kind of great mind Baby Doc Paul has from something he said a few years ago. In his opinion, federal disaster relief should go back to the level of 1900. Funny he should pick that year. He’s a native Texan, and that was the year of the great Galveston Hurricane. It killed 8,000 people, the storm surge leveled half the city, and they were cut off from the rest of the world for three days.
He’s got it all wrong. The Creepublicans are the disaster we need relief from.

Dangerous Bacon: Every time I see that quote it automatically reminds me of the poem “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran.

One of the comments in one of the links says this:

“Little known fact. That child was in deaths door just a few weeks ago and would be dead if not for outside influence. That outside influence was the reason the kid went to the hospital and was diagnosed. If left to the parents he would have never gone to the hospital”

I have been unable to verify this. Does anyone have a link?

If these parents are so convinced of the value of these approaches, why did their kid get cancer to begin with? Is this “holistic” mother not already using these practices? She was 19 when she had the child, and the father’s age is not given, but you can almost forgive them for their youth, but there’s no excuse for anyone supporting them. BTW, I had my first at 19, but it really was a different time–we didn’t have the pill for one. We also saw children like this boy die and were very happy when real treatments became available.

I really have to facepalm : first you read the big CHEMO is POISON, but then you learn fact that they use bitter apricot seeds (laetrile = cyanide, as ORAC often has talked about ). There goes another irony meter kablammo!

Of course, but apricot seeds are natural, so that makes all the difference to those people. Chemical poisons, bad. Natural poisons, good.
I don’t get it either, but if that same natural crowd promotes MMS (chemical poison) for all kinds of things, I really need a much better shielded irony meter.

You mean evil chemical poisons like taxans, vinca alkaloids, ecteinascidin, camptothecin, bleomycin, anthracyclines, actinomycin D, podophyllotoxin, maitansine, monomethyl auristatin E and calicheamicins?

I saw someone claiming that the cyanide in apricot seeds is only “activated” in the presence of cancer cells.

They never did explain how the whole enormous apricot seed would worm its way out of the intestines and to the tumor site.

And they take other things on faith that they contain and do all that the label says.
Does anyone remember when dolomite was promoted as a safe and natural mineral supplement? Among other things, it’s also a natural and convenient way to meet your minimum daily lead requirement. It’s been decades since I’ve seen it on the shelves.
What are those factories in China really putting in those bottles of “supplements” and cures? It’s anybody’s guess, at least until people start dying..

I think they are thinking of the antibacterial properties of silver here. There are silver impregnated wound dressings that we sometimes use although they have to be ordered by a doctor before we can use them. I don’t know how silver would help a child’s leukaemia though and it’s never used internally.

The parents should be aware that overuse of oral silver turns you a permanent smurf blue. I believe there is a USA politician who too enthusiastically used oral silver preparations pre Y2K and is now a fetching alien blue colour.

Silver sulfadiazene AKA Silvadene cream is commonly used to protect 2nd and 3rd degree burns to prevent wound sepsis by its antimicrobial action. It also acts as a barrier and is used either with or without bandaging, depending on the situation.

Juana: “You mean evil chemical poisons like…” not to mention digitalis, warfarin, penicillin, streptomycin, quinidine, aspirin, morphine, atropine, caffeine (My personal favorite), colchicine, acyclovir, glycerine, and all their congeners, isomers, and derivatives. I could go on, but even I am not that pedantic. Or cruel.

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