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Against family’s wishes, ambulance takes Northland teen to Chicago hospital

Michelle Rider said Friday that her son was taken back to Chicago against his will. “He was crying,” she said. “He made clear he did not want to go. He’s been traumatized.”
Michelle Rider said Friday that her son was taken back to Chicago against his will. “He was crying,” she said. “He made clear he did not want to go. He’s been traumatized.” File photo from the Chicago Tribune

The story of a Northland teen suffering a rare genetic disorder took a new twist Friday when he was taken by ambulance from Kansas City to Chicago.

Isaiah Rider didn’t want to go. His family didn’t want him to go. His grandmother followed the ambulance in her car.

But Rider is a ward of the state of Illinois. He got that way when a Chicago hospital accused his mother of interfering with his medical treatment. Rider had been released and allowed to stay with his grandparents in the Kansas City area.

The family learned late Thursday that Rider’s guardian ad litem in Illinois said he needed to return.

But Rider is 17. In Missouri, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety, he is an adult. He likely wouldn’t have a guardian ad litem in his home state.

Rider made clear in a video plea that he did not want to return to Chicago.

“I’m very scared and don’t want to leave my family,” he said. “I just wish I could stay home.”

Michelle Rider said her son was taken against his will.

“He was crying,” she said. “He made clear he did not want to go. He’s been traumatized.”

According to a story this summer in the Chicago Tribune, officials at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital said Michelle Rider displayed characteristics associated with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a condition in which a caregiver subjects a child to unnecessary medical care.

Rider had moved her son from hospital to hospital in several states. In 2012, doctors amputated part of her son’s leg. Rider often disagreed with doctors’ advice and insisted on pain medication for her son. Lurie staff members also reported that the teen’s pain lessened when his mother wasn’t around.

Rider had taken her son to Chicago earlier this year for treatment of neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition in which tumors develop on nerves throughout the body. In April, she raised the possibility of moving the teen to another hospital in another state.

That’s when the Lurie hospital reported Rider, a former hospice nurse, to state officials who later agreed that Isaiah Rider could stay with his grandparents.

Gary Rider, the grandfather, said Isaiah Rider fell recently and had spent the past few days at St. Luke’s North Hospital suffering sporadic spasms and tremors. He was taken from that hospital Friday to go to Chicago.

Scott Miller, an attorney with the National Center for Life & Liberty, said Friday that a court motion had been filed to enter the case on behalf of the family.

“He’s (Isaiah Rider) currently a ward of the state of Illinois,” Miller said Friday. “But his position is that he’s not a resident of Illinois. He’s a resident of Missouri where he is an adult.”

To reach Donald Bradley, call 816-234-4182 or send email to dbradley@kcstar.com.

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