“The due process clause of the fourteenth amendment guarantees, protects the rights of parents but the fact is that we have to put it in law. You wouldn’t think we have to go here. What we’re seeing in our country today leads us to believe that if we don’t put this stuff into law then we are behind the eight ball and we find ourselves with these kinds of situations. I’m just afraid, down the road, we’re going to see more and more cases like [the Isaiah Rider case].” — Ken Wilson (R-MO)
We’re farther “down the road” than most dare to imagine.
The bill Rep. Wilson introduced states that a parent cannot be charged with medical child abuse for disagreeing with medical advice and choosing treatment of another doctor. Yeah. We’re there.
You might remember the well-publicized ordeal of Justina Pelletier. It seemed like a fluke of injustice, an isolated case. So beyond right, it was easy to assume there’s more to the story. In the Pelletier case, rather than receiving discharge papers, parents were charged with “medical child abuse,” the new term that has replaced Munchausen by proxy (MSbP). Mr. Pelletier was surrounded by agents of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and hospital security and ushered off the premises. Justina became a ward of the state for 16 months and her health deteriorated.
In a press conference, Reverend Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., and spokesperson for the Pelletier family, made a remarkable statement that became a mirror reflecting an unsettling image of a dangerous mindset:
“t’s easier for us to want to believe, or wrap our brains around the fact that a family is mistreating their child, than the alternative to that, and the alternative to that, is what happened in this case and that is, with impunity government agencies and courts have removed a child from the loving care of their parents—and so that’s that obstacle that no one wants to believe that reality.
“That reality” is the last thing parents think of when they have a chronically ill child or have taken a holistic path to health.
Michelle Rider, the 34-year-old registered nurse and single mother of Isaiah Rider, the boy in the above video, told PJ Lifestyle just why we have a hard time accepting this is happening:
We are taught that hospitals are safe, that doctors are safe, and DCFS intervenes when intervention is needed. So when we accept the fact that this is really happening– we are accepting that we are not safe, and our children are not safe.
While President Barack Obama asks the nation if we will accept the “cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms,” it’s blatantly apparent to parents like Michelle that he isn’t talking about sick children like Isaiah. Agents of the state — with calculated impunity — take their children.
On the very day a law was introduced in his name, his worst fears came true.
Much of Isaiah’s childhood was spent in the hospital. Although he was born with the genetic condition Neurofibromatosis (NF1), his seemingly endless cycles of hospitalizations began at the age of six with a fractured leg. Annual surgeries became part of the rhythm of their lives. With rods put in and taken out of his leg, enduring multiple complications, suffering a damaged growth plate, and then a foot that stopped growing, Isaiah was left with a painful and deformed limb.
By the age of age 15, Isaiah was ready to do whatever it took to live a normal and pain-free life. According to his doctors, this required a below-the-knee amputation:
“We were told that if we do that, that would be his answer. He will be able to run again. He’ll be able to walk with his prosthesis and he won’t be in and out of the hospital anymore—that’s what we were hoping for, that’s what they told us.” Michelle explained.
Isaiah was excited at the thought of being able to run again. His ongoing care had come from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where Isaiah and Michelle also went to classes to prepare them for life after the amputation. They were ready.
Or so they thought. They couldn’t have prepared for what came next.
Just 24 hours after the partial removal of his leg, Isaiah developed a mysterious and severe complication. He became engulfed in unbearable pain and rapid and almost violent involuntary vibrating of the amputated stump.
In spite of all of the doctors’ attempts to ease his pain, everything failed. He became completely maxed out on all pain medications. The decision was made to have Isaiah transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital. Although they failed to provide a diagnosis ,they did succeed in numbing the nerve and, in turn, quieting the leg.
For an entire year, Isaiah lived a normal teenager’s life. He got his first job and found a girlfriend. However, the amputation alone did not solve all of Isaiah’s problems. He still had NF1, a condition that produced pain, as well as tumors on his nerves, in his abdomen and on his spine.
Michelle sought out a specialist to remove the tumors and found Dr. McKay McKinnon. Together, they decided to travel from their home state of Missouri to Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for the surgery.
Once again the hope failed to turn into reality. During the surgery, the convulsive leg returned. A week into his stay at the Chicago hospital, Isaiah was admitted into ICU for pain management. After two weeks, Michelle couldn’t stand watching her son suffer any longer and asked for a transfer back to Boston Children’s Hospital.
On the morning that plunged Michelle and Isaiah into their current nightmare, Michelle scurried around her room at the Ronald McDonald House talking to Isaiah, and getting ready to see him. “Hurry,” he pleaded, and so she did. Before she could board the transport shuttle to the hospital, another call came in: a social worker eager to know when she would arrive.
The inquisitive agent of the state met Michelle at the hospital entrance and began to walk with her. She was deceptively pleasant, filling the walk with small talk — until they joined the director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Dr. Zena Leah Harris and another social worker. Instead of going to Isaiah’s room as Michelle expected, this new doctor, whom she had never met before, led her back into another area of the hospital.
“I started feeling a little bit off,” Michelle confessed. “I didn’t know where we were going, I saw people just standing around. There were security guards. Then I heard someone say, ‘Where’s the mom? Who’s the mom?’ It was all a little unsettling. I didn’t know what was going on.”
Then the doctor stated, “We’re taking your son for 48 hours.”
Stunned and confused, Michelle asked what they were taking him for. They replied: “medical child abuse.” Completely unaware of what they even meant, the trembling mother asked, “What’s that?”
She was dismissed, and told to “Google it….I will be making medical decisions for your son going forward.”
Without warning or anesthesia, what’s known as a “parentectomy” was flawlessly executed.
Michelle was stripped of her hospital band, barred from her son’s room, and kicked out of the Ronald McDonald House. After 30 days in ICU, followed by two more weeks in a hospital bed, Isaiah was put into a foster home on the south side of Chicago. The traumatic events he experienced in that home are just coming to light, as he is able to talk about them. Suffice it to say, his life has been forever altered.
Although he was sent back to Kansas City in the care of his grandparents, he is still under the thumb of the state of Illinois. A judge has threatened the family that if Michelle sees her son without supervision he will be brought back to Illinois and locked back into a foster home.
Under this threat, Isaiah’s health issues remain undiagnosed, and unresolved. He spent several days in a community hospital, once again suffering the trauma of his convulsing leg, and his family and supporters have tried to find help. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is the hospital that’s recommended.
However, the state of Illinois is blocking a transfer to Cincinnati. Instead, they have brought him back to Chicago.
This is the video he made the morning of the transfer: