Mom locked in custody battle with hospital in Chicago for her teenage son

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of a Staley High School student says they went to Chicago hoping doctors could cure a medical problem. Instead, they say the trip has ruined their lives.

“He’s in a stranger’s home in a state we don’t even live in,” said Michelle Rider, Isaiah’s mom.

Sixteen-year-old Isaiah Rider lives in foster care. Michelle Rider says besides a couple of hours of supervised visitation per week,  she has very little contact with her son these days.

The two rely on text messages back and forth, while waiting for a judge to decide if the teenager can come home to Kansas City, or must remain the ward of a state where he was once just a visitor.

“He’s very upset and wants to come home,” Michelle said via Skype interview.

While Michelle is in Chicago fighting to get her son, we talked to her mother, Judy Rider, who said it all started when Isaiah broke his leg at just six years old.

“His leg beneath the break didn’t grow,” Judy said.

Ten years and 10 surgeries later, Isaiah’s leg was amputated.

“After the amputation he suffered severe pain and tremors along with that,” Judy said.

Isaiah was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nervous system tissue. Michelle said Isaiah began his treatment at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, and has been in and out of four other hospitals across the country before ending up at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

“We were hoping to have surgery to improve the pain in his leg, when in fact, Isaiah had complications that started in surgery. Under general anesthesia he started having pain and severe convulsions that Lurie was not able to manage,” Michelle said.

She said her son continued to get worse.

“They were trying, but they were not working, so I started requesting a transfer to another hospital,” Michelle said.

“I don’t know if it was an insult to them, I mean they actually appeared to be going along with the transfer, but took custody away from her prior to a transfer happening,” Judy said.

That was April 15, Michelle, accused of medical abuse and Munchausen by proxy.

“It’s a diagnosis where a parent tries to hurt their child, when in fact, I was trying to help my child who was suffering,” Michelle said.

When asked by FOX 4, Judy said that Michelle does not suffer from a disorder that could potentially cause Isaiah to say in the hospital, shuffled between doctors.

Lurie Children’s Hospital declined our request for an interview, but sent a statement which reads in part:

“Due to patient privacy issues we cannot comment on any individual case. … As part of our 132 year mission, we are committed to ensuring the health and welfare of every child we serve.”



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