Judge: LI boy can leave hospital, must continue chemo treatments

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WOODBURY -

A judge on Friday ordered treatments to continue for a Long Island boy whose mother has been fighting to keep him from undergoing chemotherapy.

"I really need to get out of here because it's causing me a lot of stress and I can't deal with it anymore," Nicholas Gunderson, 13, said Thursday in a heartbreaking plea to be released from NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola.

The teen has a rare form of leukemia and had been ordered to stay hospitalized and undergo chemo while in remission.

His mother, Candace, tried to refuse chemo and use an alternative treatment, which she says prompted Child Protective Services to seize her son.

"At this point I genuinely feel that I failed him because they have literally taken my ability away to protect him," she said.

Gunderson got a small victory on Friday, when a family court judge ruled that he can be released from the hospital. A family friend now has temporary custody of him, and Candace Gunderson will be allowed to live with them. But the teen will still have to continue chemotherapy.

A spokesperson for Winthrop told News 12: "The standard of care clearly calls for a regimen of chemotherapy over several years to significantly reduce the risk of recurrence of the cancer in an even more aggressive form."

Because of her son's rare conditions, Candace Gunderson says doctors only gave the boy five years to live, which is why she says she wants "nontoxic" treatments. She says her son told her that he would rather live a free and happy life, and then die, than be stuck in a hospital undergoing treatment.

Child Protective services said it will continue to act in accordance with the Suffolk County Family Court order to ensure the child's medical needs are met.

A trial to decide whether to stop Gunderson's chemotherapy will likely begin in December.

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