Another American mother has lost custody of her child because of a disagreement about medical care with hospital doctors.
Missouri resident Michelle Rider’s 16-year-old son Isaiah is now in a foster home near Chicago because of “medical child abuse” allegations made by hospital staff.
“We simply came here just seeking specialized medical care and now my son is being held against his will in another state,” Rider told Chicago TV station WGN. “He is in a stranger’s home in the state of Illinois. All of his family and friends and everyone is in Kansas City.”
The son has spoken out, saying he wants to go back to his mom.
Rider’s ordeal began in April when she was preparing to check Isaiah out of Lurie Children’s Hospital because she didn’t like the care he was receiving. Instead of being allowed to leave, Lurie was told that Cook County (Chicago) Child Protective Services had taken custody of her son.
“I feel like part of my heart has been taken,” Rider told The Kansas City Star. “That’s my child, that’s my son. I would never hurt my son.”
Not Allowed To See Son For 24 Days
Isaiah was first kept in the hospital until May 6 and then transferred to a foster home in Chicago. His mom wasn’t allowed to see the boy for 24 days. She did appeal the custody action but on July 2, Judge Nicholas Geanopoulos ruled that Isaiah will stay in foster care for another 90 days before being transferred to a foster home in Missouri.
“They accused me of medical (child) abuse,” Rider, a single mother and a former nurse, said. “I said, ‘What is that?’ They told me to Google it. I was not allowed to have contact with my son and was told they would be making medical decisions for now on.”
She was accused of having Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, which takes place when a parent or guardian makes up illnesses or symptoms that a child does not have. The parent or guardian is accused of subjecting a child to unnecessary medical care.
The even-more-troubling aspect of this case? Isaiah Rider really is ill; he suffers from a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow throughout his nervous system. The disease causes terrible pain and prompted doctors to amputate Isaiah’s left leg in 2012.
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Doctors at Lurie Children contend that Rider was causing Isaiah harm by giving him too much pain medication. They also allege that she kept moving Isaiah to different hospitals across the country to keep control of him.
“We really felt we were dealing with a cycle of drugs being given to a child who didn’t need it,” Dr. Zena Leah Harris said, according to The Chicago Tribune. Harris contends that hospital staff did the right thing by reporting Rider to Child Protective Services.
The Fight Goes On
Michelle Rider hasn’t stopped fighting for her son and has set up a Facebook page called Team Isaiah to rally support, and she is speaking to the media.
Isaiah himself has joined the battle as well by posting a message on YouTube.
“One day I woke up and I was surrounded by a bunch of doctors and they told me that I wasn’t allowed to see my mother anymore,” Isaiah said.
“I’m not allowed to talk to her or I’ll get my phone taken away,” he said. “She didn’t do anything wrong at all. She’s been there since day one since I was born, through every surgery at the bedside and I look up to her for that.”
“I love her and she’s the best person in my life,” he said. “Now I’m living here in foster care with some person I barely know. I’m afraid I’m going to get shot.”
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He also accused foster care providers of not providing him with drugs he needs to control his pain. The teen complained that he is being kept from his girlfriend and his job.
“What Lurie Children’s did to me has ruined my life,” Isaiah said. “I want to be back with my family.”
The Rider case is very similar to that of Connecticut resident Justina Pelletier, who was taken from her family by the state of Massachusetts after a medical child abuse complaint from doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital. Pelletier eventually was returned after more than a year in state custody.
Do you believe the hospital should have taken the child away from his mother? Tell us in the comments section below: