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.
Gundersen of Huntington said Nick was diagnosed by doctors at Cohen Children’s Medical Center with acute leukemia in June 2018. Gundersen said she asked doctors if she could get a second opinion before Nick began chemotherapy on June 30th.
“They told me if I didn’t consent to the treatment they would call CPS and have me removed and my son would have the treatment anyway,” Gundersen said. “So I signed the consent.”
Gundersen, who’s a holistic wellness coach, said Nick was hospitalized for 30 days and suffered an adverse reaction to the 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,” she said.
He was discharged on July 24 and continued with outpatient appointments until August 29th. On August 29th, doctors tried to admit Nick but his mother refused. A doctor there called CPS. Cohen Children’s Medical Center did not return Eyewitness News’ request for comment.
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. On September 11th, Gundersen had Nick transferred to NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, where he continued with chemotherapy.
In mid-October, 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, which is considered the standard of care. Gundersen refused, opting for her son to have what she called non-toxic preventative treatments which keep the cancer in remission.
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