After the hospital took him away from his mother and placed him into foster care, 16-year-old Isaiah Rider videotaped himself expressing his unnerve and confusion as to why he isn’t allowed to see her. The hospital claimed his mother, Michelle Rider, worsened the symptoms of her son, who is diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a painful condition that causes tumors to grow on his nerves.
In the video, Rider details the surgery he had at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, describing both the physical and emotional pain. His mother brought him from their home in Kansas all the way to the Chicago hospital after three other cities failed to effectively treat his condition. Once she requested her son be transferred to a different hospital, the staff accused the mother of medical child abuse and forbade her from seeing him.
"They told me I wasn't able to see my mother and I was shocked. I was shocked by it,” Rider said in the three-minute-long video. "I was like: I'm not allowed to see my mom anymore? She didn't even do anything wrong."
Hospital officials claim the temporary protective custody was necessary because his mother was requesting stronger medications and that when his mother wasn’t around his symptoms improved. “They took extreme measures to keep Isaiah there and removed me from the situation,” the mother told NBC News. “They took my parental rights away.”
Neurofribromatosis is a genetic disorder that is usually diagnosed in childhood and early adulthood and can develop anywhere in the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Although the tumors are usually benign, or noncancerous, they can become severely disabled due to the nerve compression by tumors, which cause severe pain and possible vision loss.
“I think I was in shock. It was like a nightmare that you know, just this wasn’t really happening. How could they do this, how could they take my son?” she said.
The teen was separated from his mother in April, and on Tuesday, Michelle Rider appeared in Cook County Juvenile Court in an effort to regain custody of her son. The court hasn’t come to a decision on his custody status, and the mother has not been charged with any wrongdoing in the case. The hearing will be continued July 2, but until then, Rider will remain in foster care.
"I feel they took me away from my mom and now I'm living here in foster care with some person I barely know," Rider said in the video.