KC area mom accused of medical child abuse learns Illinois is keeping her son

07/03/2014 10:51 AM

07/04/2014 9:41 AM

A Kansas City area woman fighting the state of Illinois to bring her son back home will have to continue her battle.

In a Wednesday hearing inside a Chicago courtroom, a judge told Michelle Rider that her only child, Isaiah, must stay in Illinois foster care for the time being. According to Chicago media reports, the judge said he found medical testimony credible that alleged Rider had interfered with his treatment and was subjecting Isaiah to unnecessary medical care.

“I’m just heartbroken,” Rider said Wednesday evening. “I keep every week living this over and over again. I can’t believe they are doing this to my son.”

Rider took Isaiah, 16, to Chicago earlier this year for treatment of neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition in which tumors develop on nerves throughout the body.

In mid-April, she discussed transferring her son — who has had a chronic medical history since he injured his leg when he was 6 — from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital to a hospital in another state. That’s when the hospital reported her for medical child abuse, she says, and her son was placed in temporary protective custody.

Among the hospital’s allegations: Rider moved her son from hospital to hospital in several states. She didn’t agree with doctors’ advice. And she insisted on pain medication for her son, who had part of one leg amputated in 2012. Staff members reportedly said the pain lessened when the mother wasn’t around.

“They’ve never walked a day in my shoes,” Rider said. “We were trying to get help from these people. … I don’t understand any of this.”

Ever since her son was placed in protective custody, including a 24-day period when she couldn’t see Isaiah, she has been fighting to get him back and bring him to the Kansas City area, where he attends Staley High School, has a girlfriend and was a busboy at a Liberty restaurant.

Rider said she saw Isaiah earlier this week and he was excited about the possibility of coming home. She has yet to speak with him since Wednesday’s hearing.

“He’s told the judge what he wants,” Rider said. “He’s made a public video of what he wants to happen to him.”

The judge said Wednesday that the teen will remain in foster care in the Chicago area until protective custody can be transferred to Missouri, Rider said. Illinois will still have involvement in his case, according to media reports.

In the video, Isaiah states that he was in the hospital when he was told he had been placed in protective care.

“One day I woke up and I was surrounded by a bunch of doctors and they told me I wasn’t allowed to see my mother anymore,” said Isaiah, who described himself at that time as “shocked.” He said his mother has been there for him since day one of his medical issues.

All he wants, he said in the video, is to come back to Missouri with his mom.

“Everything is back at home in Kansas City,” said Isaiah, who will turn 17 next month. “And that’s all I want is to go back home to Kansas City.”

To reach Laura Bauer, call 816-234-4944 or send email to lbauer@kcstar.com.

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