13-year-old Nick Gundersen spoke to ABC reporter Kristin Thorne from his hospital bed. Image source.

Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

ABC7 in New York is reporting on the story of a Long Island mother who lost custody of her 13-year-old son when she disagreed with doctors over his treatment.

Kristin Thorne reports:

A mother on Long Island is fighting to have her son removed from chemotherapy treatment after he was given a clean bill of health by doctors.

Candace Gundersen’s son, Nick Gundersen, 13, is receiving court-ordered chemotherapy at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. He’s now in the custody of Suffolk County Child Protective Services.

The mother is reportedly a “holistic wellness coach” and watched her son suffer for 30 days while receiving chemotherapy.

He lost over 20 percent of his body weight. He developed typhlitis, which is a life-threatening bowel infection, he had fluid in both his lungs, he was bedridden. He stopped breathing on numerous occasions, he was on oxygen.

He was discharged from the hospital in July, and one month later doctors at Cohen Children’s Medical Center tried to readmit Nick. His mother refused, and a doctor allegedly called CPS.

On September 2, Gundersen said police officers and CPS showed up at her house at 3:30 a.m. and seized Nick and forced him to return to Cohen.

The next month, October, Nick was declared to be cancer free. According to ABC7:

…doctors at NYU Winthrop gave Nick a clean bill of health and said the cancer was gone, but informed the family that Nick would need three years of chemotherapy

Nick’s mother took him to different doctors in Florida who prescribed a less toxic treatment plan, and this apparently angered the doctors at Cohen Children’s Medical Center:

CPS brought an emergency removal proceeding on October 19th to seize control of Nick. Dr. Mark Weinblatt of NYU Winthrop testified a week later before a Suffolk County family court judge that Nick was in imminent danger of death.

On October 26, the judge granted custody of Nick to CPS and ordered him back to Suffolk County.

Nick left Florida and was admitted on October 30 to NYU Winthrop.

Nick spoke with ABC7 reporter Kristin Thorne from his hospital bed:

“They basically took me away from my parents and that’s unnecessary because they’re trying to help me and they’re not trying to kill me. I think that they should focus on other families that actually need help and whose children lives are actually in danger,” he said.

Read the full article, along with video, at ABC7 in New York.

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