Who Is Isaiah Rider???


Our children are not safe.  Not because of terrorists, but because it is becoming dangerous to advocate for their medical care without fear of losing them.  A new charge, “Medical Child Abuse,” is now used by hospitals to remove inconvenient parents from the role of advocating for their children.

When Lou Pelletier broke a judicial gag order to speak of his family’s ordeal, he did it because he feared for his daughter’s life. Justina Pelletier had been removed from her treatment for Mitochondrial Disease by the Child and Adolescent psychiatry inpatient unit attached to Boston Children’s Hospital, Bader-5.  BCH had taken custody of Justina from her parents, and had attempted to keep the story out of the public view. But when the story broke nationally through FOX News and the Boston Globe, and WRKO Radio’s conservative host Jeff Kuhner rallied 4,000 people to the front of the Massachusetts State House to protest Justina’s brutal mistreatment, and numbers on the FaceBook page A Miracle for Justina surged upwards of 40,000, one of the revelations as the Pelletier case unwound was that Boston Children’s Hospital’s research policy allows for harming wards of the state for the greater good.  “More than minor deleterious effect” is the precise language.  Justina, barely reunited with her family following a 16-month ordeal testified to Congress, urging them to pass “Justina’s Law” which would make research funding for an institution with such a policy illegal.

Sadly, though, this bill does not address the crux problem; the overreaching power that doctors in major medical centers and academic institution are exercising in disregard of citizens’ constitutional protections.

Isaiah Rider: The Newest Poster Child of the “Parentectomy” Movement

As Michelle Rider listened to doctors at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital express their frustration over her efforts to manage her son’s pain, a singular intention formed in her heart and mind.  She wanted to help her son, so she asked for a transfer to another hospital. “We can’t help him” and “We don’t know why” are not acceptable to any mother watching her child writhe in agony.  But in addition to the immediate crisis of pain management, Michelle had other concerns about the way she and her son were being treated at Lurie’s. Insinuations that Isaiah’s painful involuntary leg movements – which had begun in surgery under anesthesia – were somehow Isaiah’s and her fault were leading her to question the competence of the medical staff. Michelle advocated for a “fresh set of eyes and a fresh set of hands.”

Lurie’s staff led Michelle to believe they intended to execute a transfer; instead they brought DCFS (Division of Child and Family Services) in and, without investigation, Michelle lost custody of Isaiah based on allegations of medical child abuse. On August 11, 2014 the state of Illinois, represented by Judge Geanopoulos, supported the decision of Lurie’s Children’s Hospital and DCFS.  I first spoke with Michelle Rider a few weeks after Justina Pelletier was returned home to her family in Connecticut.

Michelle told me about the day she had been intercepted by a doctor and social worker who asked to meet with her privately.  They took her to an unfamiliar room where the words spoken would change her life forever.

“We are taking Isaiah away from you for 48 hours.””Why would you do such a thing? Why would you even want to do such a thing?”

“You are being charged with Medical Child Abuse”

“What is that??? I’ve never even heard of that!!!!”

“Google it.”

When I did exactly that, the top response for “Medical Child Abuse” was a 66-page manifesto written by the University of Chicago – where Isaiah is now living against his will.
Here is the “Perpetrator Profile” of a medical child abuser – in 9 bullet points,
Perpetrator Profile, © American Academy of Pediatrics, Visual Diagnosis of Child Abuse on CD-ROM, 3rd Edition:
  • Interest or expertise in medicine.
  • Life revolves around child’s illness.
  • “Good parent” or martyr.
  • Overly comfortable with medical staff.
  • Does not appear relieved with normal test results.
  • Promotes invasive tests and procedures.
  • Enjoys being in the spotlight.
  • May have personality disorder, Munchausen syndrome, or somatization disorder.
  • Not really accurate or helpful in diagnosis.
And here is why this list should – if it doesn’t already – make the hairs of your neck stand on end:
Interest or Expertise in Medicine
Parents of children with rare diseases network with other parents.  They read the latest research and follow developments.  They spend more time doing this than physicians seeing patients have time for.
Life Revolves Around Child’s Illness
How could a parent’s life not revolve around their sick child?
“Good Parent” or Martyr
Does any parent of a child with a rare disease deserve anything less than the highest respect and kind treatment?
Overly Comfortable With Medical Staff
If you have been advocating for a child for years in several geographic locations, you develop a certain amount of skill and confidence. You make the best of things, you extend yourself to people. Most moral traditions maintain that it’s important to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves.
Does Not Appear Relieved With Normal Test Results
Why would a parent whose child is suffering horribly be relieved by normal test results that offer no new clues?
Promotes Invasive Tests and Procedures
If an invasive procedure might provide answers or a solution to years of suffering and isolation for a child, why would a parent not advocate for those?
Enjoys Being in the Spotlight
This, a characteristic of many people, is not related to whether a child’s illness is real or not, and therefore should not be included in diagnostic criteria.
May Have Personality Disorder, Munchausen Syndrome, or Somatization Disorder
Well, this is true.  The person “may” also be at risk of being at risk of . . . having a “personality disorder.”  Conservatives believe Liberals have a personality disorder. Liberals believe Conservatives are “delusional”.  And many men believe their ex girlfriends are “Borderline.” Have psychiatric allegations become so much a part of our collective consciousness that they have become “facts” like height, weight, and blood pressure?  Here’s a fact; the personality of the patient’s parent is none of the medical staff’s business.
Not Really Accurate or Helpful in Diagnosis
Which is it? We are not supposed to be interested and educated, but we are expected to be accurate and helpful in diagnosing?
It’s hard to imagine a group of reasonable people writing such a profile not imagining the unintended consequences.  Some people wonder, therefore, if these consequences really are unintended. It has certainly been convenient for Lurie’s Children’s Hospital to acquire a research subject as rare as Michelle was told her son happens to be.  Convenient also for the neurofibromatosis study on 16-year-old males, which coincidently changed to a more obscure location as the case gained media attention.  We can only speculate, but in fact Chicago is the home of the National Foundation for Neurofibromatosis, where research subjects are highly prized.  Prized enough, perhaps, to subject a well-adjusted, happy Kansas City boy to foster care in a dangerous neighborhood where he reports he is afraid of being shot?
Meanwhile, Chicago DCFS reports acting in the “best interests of the child.” The more powerful they become, the more right they think they are. The statement issued by the DCFS in Isaiah’s home state – that he belongs home with his mother – appears to be of little or no interest.  The treatment plan offered to Michelle is essentially a ransom note.  It requires her to lie, and undergo therapy for her “thought disorder.”
These unsubstantiated allegations against parents of sick children are sweeping both the United States and The UK, under the broadening umbrella of the diagnosis Munchausen by proxy, rebranded as Medical Child Abuse.
Prominent Welsh Psychiatrist Dr. David Healy, founder of RxISK.org, has written a six part series on MBP in which he writes,
“In medicine, blaming the patient or a relative is the perfect way to hide the identity of the real abuser . . . the doctor . . . the place on this Earth where there is the greatest mismatch in power between two people is when doctors meet patients.  The easiest place for an abuser to flourish is in a doctors office.  Have a look there.”
At Harvard in the early nineties, Joseph Biederman made a bold offer to J&J. He offered to create a disease. In return for millions (he was later found to have concealed much of) Childhood Bipolar Disorder was invented. Through him the floodgates opened for the drugging of children with powerful cocktails of psychiatric drugs, like the one that killed four year old Rebecca Riley. The psychiatrist who signed those death prescriptions is still practicing child psychiatry at Tufts because – in fact – she did nothing illegal. Child Bipolar Disorder has made possible the extension of the brain-disease marketing strategy of the pharmaceutical industry to its most promising new market; children. Inpatient child and adolescent facilities, like Bader-5, became the darlings of mental health agency Judge Baker. At Bader-5, Dr. Dave De Maso, Chief of Psychiatry, is the renowned author of the book, “Medical Child Abuse,” which among other disturbing things asserts that interventions should occur more often because up to 50% of pediatric general admissions “may” be “Somataform Disorder.” DeMaso envisions an expansion of psychiatry to include supervision of all medical cases, because doctors are blind to their own undiagnosed psychiatric conditions.
Even scarier is the silence in the mainstream media around all this. When parents have to be willing to defend their right to be parents every time they seek the medical help that their child deserves, what kind of feudal nightmare have we descended into?
These are not medical issues. These are social, political, moral and legal issues. Medical professionals have lobbied for and achieved too much power for themselves. We need consumer laws, and legal recourse. Michelle Rider is committed to stopping what has happened to her from happening to others. As an experienced hospice nurse and red cross volunteer, she feels deeply betrayed and concerned about the medical profession she trained to work in.
People who make false accusations should be responsible for the consequences. The right to defend oneself and to face one’s accuser, the right to a fair and speedy trial, to adequate representation, the right to protection from cruel and unusual punishment . . . these fundamental elements of justice are the basic rights we secure in our agreement to be governed in this republican democracy. Clearly, these basic rights are no longer respected by today’s medical profession, and it will be up to the court of public opinion to decide what to do next. That decision will have to be legislated, and politics will be involved. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power does not concede power; never has, never will.”
* * * * *


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. Absolutely, the medical community has way too much power in our society. And “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The medical community is at the point of absolute corruption, especially in the Chicagoland area.

    And the IL DCFS is also corrupt. I know this because I know they do not look into legitimate cases of alleged child abuse, with medical evidence of an inflamed anus, by wealthy people in a neighborhood (even though a private school, the alleged molester was on the board of, closed on 6.6.06, with rumor of “odd sexual behavior on the parts of many boys from that school”). But, they will look into unfounded (and found to be unfounded) cases of alleged child abuse when a father drinks too much one night. My understanding is this may be due, at least in some states it is, to an improperly set up compensation system for DCFS. I’ve read that in some states DCFS is compensated for each child they take from one home, and place into foster care. Therefore, DCFS does not look into legitimate cases of child abuse when the child molester is not living with the child. But they will look into illegitimate cases of child abuse if they have the potential to take children from their parents.

    And Isaiah’s case looks like what I ran into with the too powerful Chicagoland medical community. I dealt with psychiatric stigmatization and poisoning to cover up a “bad fix” on a broken bone. And the medical community of the Chicagoland area collectively works together to cover up easily recognized medical malpractice.

    I ended up ultimately being medically unnecessarily shipped a long distance from my house to a Dr. V R Kuchipudi, who “snowed” me. Kuchipudi’s now been arrested by the FBI, along with a bunch of other doctors, for having lots of patients medically unnecessarily shipped long distances to him, “snowing” patients, performing unneeded tracheotomies, resulting in many patient deaths. And, according to Advocate Good Samaritan’s medical records, I was admitted by Kuchipudi with a non-existant “chronic airway obstruction,” exactly what an unneeded tracheotomy would cure.

    My pastor was kind enough to explain that the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” way of covering up their malpractice and sins, was with psychiatric defamation and poisoning. But absolutely, the Illinois medical community collectively colludes to cover up their incompetence by harming patients.

    And the IL Department of Professional Regulations is not timely addressing patient complaints about unethical doctors in Illinois.

    Report comment

    • Child care services 101:
      – a kid dies of starvation in a family that was supposed to be under supervision of social workers – no one’s guilty
      – a kid is a bit fat but has loving caregivers – he gets taken away from home and put in an institution.
      Who works in these places? Are people really that stupid and/or evil?

      Report comment

  2. Thank you Nancy for bringing this to peoples attention.

    “even scarier is the silence in the mainstream media”. It sure is, and I begin to wonder how complicit in all of this they are. Informing the public of the sorts of ‘traps’ that they may fall into when navigating the health field should be a duty. Staying silent to enable doctors to exploit and expand their already extensive powers is to me negligent.

    Please let us know if their is anything that can be done to help in this situation.


    Report comment

  3. I think fabricated illness does exist – because I know of a case. However it was easy to diagnose, when the abusive carer, it was the mother’s partner, was removed, the children immediatly recovered. They were supposed to have ME. He convinced several women they had it and that he was helping them with it. He then convinced a woman that her children had it. This went on for years. The
    man then made sexual approaches to the children when they were about 14. They told their mother who reported him to the police. He was arrested and left the house. The children recovered their health straight away.

    So I think there is a line to be explored here between those few genuine cases and children’s services and Dr’s jumping to conclusions that are not justfied and which are plain abuses of power.

    Report comment

    • i agree, especially as I was accused of being a paedophile by an over zealous NHS thearpist, and forced to loose my job as a result of thier incompetant assessment. I am also against forced treatment.

      I just wanted to make the point that these things do sometimes exist – but that assessment shouldn’t take too long, like somewhere between a day and a week. The young people I knew really did recover in a day or two where as the cases you are quoting they were seperated from thier parents for months and did not recover. And plainly the characteristics of supposed abusive parents you quote is absolute rubbish – much like most DSM diagnosis.

      Report comment

      • It is a DSM diagnosis of Munchhausen by proxy or whatever the newest term for that is. And is worth as much as all the other diagnoses.
        Separating kids from their parents, especially at a young age is deleterious, sometimes in an irreversible way, to their mental and often physical well-being. It should ever be done only in extreme cases of sexual and/or physical abuse that is clearly documented. But I guess when the kids are taken away from their parents because the parents have the audacity to disagree with the doctors and then they get “mentally ill” from the trauma – well, that’s a proof it’s genetic. It’s a scary world we live in.

        Report comment

  4. How heartbreaking! The ‘perpetrator profile” sounds like a concerned, caring parent. Thankfully our son was an adult when we brought him to the hospital, but I still felt blamed when he did not respond to drug treatment. The psychiatrists are so arrogant, if their cures don’t work it must be some else’s fault (usually the distressed patient or his parents). Too bad that doctors can’t say “I’m sorry, but I really don’t know what is wrong with you or how to fix your problems.””

    Report comment

  5. Very important article, Nancy. The “child welfare” system has become, if it wasn’t before, just a branch of the “mental health” system.

    People in our movement have to stop entertaining themselves schmoozing with their friends at the SAMHSA conference, and start planning real action, not just harmless talk.

    Report comment

    • Dear B, “Thought Disorder” has personal significance to me. In Asheville, NC, I went to have an EKG, they asked me if I would like to “speak to a clinician” when the test came back normal, I said, “No, as a matter of fact I would not”. They shot me up with Haldol, shipped me off to Broughton on a thirty second court order that read, “Anti-psychiatric Delusions, Off medication”. During the five days I spent there before they decided to get rid of me, (largely because of the information I was sharing with other prisoners but also because Jim Gottstein called, and also recruited Grace Jackson to help)……this is by far my best story;

      I had to go to classes based on my diagnosis (“Thought Disorder”). That “thought Disorder” was, apparently, that my parents were whom they were,………. they said that to Grace Jackson…… who googled them. So I had to go to class to learn about my “illness”. The nurse “teaching” the class was wearing an incredibly expensive gold cross and I complimented her on it. She looked into my eyes and said, “I know that Jesus put doctors on earth to prescribe medication”

      Report comment

      • *tisk* *tisk*

        If Jesus was making alliances with such politically correct ruses, he would have gotten along fine with the Pharisees and the Money Changers, But the thing is, you see, he didn’t.

        And it doesn’t even make any sense, because psychiatric drugs aren’t medications, they are controlled substances that disable natural brain functions, that doesn’t really qualify as a medication. And further more, Jesus healed a whole different way than to make someone dependent on the drug companies and their limitations, even were they true medications, I think, IMHO.

        There are quite a few war mongers, homophobes, misogynists and others who don’t stop to list Jesus as a source for the insecurities they express as bigotry, as well.

        Report comment

  6. Nancy, another excellent article…keep it up! Yes, we do see medical child abuse and it’s common. Need i point out the NAMI parents who insist on attending their child’s therapy sessions, even if he/she is an adult? They do this and get away with it, convincing the therapist that the kid “doesn’t know what he/she is talking about” or is “hiding the illness” and they want to see to it that the therapist is convinced to believe them. The patient doesn’t get a word in. He/she is whisked off to the psych ward. For every psych test he fails, or passes, and more and more evidence is shown that the kid is extremely deranged, is a battle won for the abusive parents. Yes, they study psych intensely, in their NAMI meetings and now, online. They will stop at nothing, including calling the cops, to see to it that the whole world is convinced of their child’s “illness.” The more drugs and treatment, the better.

    Another version of medical child abuse that i have seen is the NAMI poster child abuse, when the parents profit off of the child’s “recovery.” The child is dutifully taking his/her meds and compliant. So the parents parade their “recovery poster child” around and show the child off, as if he/she is a child model or child actress..who was that kid in Colorado, the child model that the parents were USING?…these NAMI-types are thrilled to be famous via the kid. I don’t mean to target NAMI specifically, but this is typical. They are as much in love with the illness as the shrinks, who are now getting a piece of the pie as well via the kid’s publicity. A win-win situation, except…until the kid has had enough…and rebels…or dies…and someone gets pissed.

    Thanks, Nancy, this is excellent.

    Report comment

    • Btw, psychiatry has been used by various sociopaths to cover up their crimes since its dawn. I personally know about 2 cases: in both teenage girls had a suicide attempt because of in one case sexual abuse by the grandfather (which happened not only to that girl but practically every female in the family for 2 generations) and in the other by physical abuse by the mother. In both cases girls were locked up involuntarily and given drugs and “psychotherapy” and all that s**t while nobody did anything about the abusers. I guess I don’t even have to mention the pedophile guy was a respectable person in the community and a member of local government.
      But I guess the girls were just genetically vulnerable and their brains were screwed up.

      Report comment

  7. Well just keep complaining, arguing and trying to reason with people. Child abusers of all types are easily persuaded to stop abusing children when presented with compelling logical arguments, especially when the law is on their side and lots of money is involved.

    Report comment

  8. “Sadly, though, this bill does not address the crux problem; the overreaching power that doctors in major medical centers and academic institution are exercising in disregard of citizens’ constitutional protections.”

    Thanks for bringing attention to this, Nancy. I’m glad to know someone else shares my disappointment with this. Of course it’s an outrage that wards of the state or ANY individuals, particularly very vulnerable children, would be treated as guinea pigs and I’m glad for any and all actions taken to put a stop to such abuse.

    When Justina’s and her family’s plight came to public attention (and thanks again for your part in that here in MIA), I immediately thought this debacle, once rectified, should give rise to a “Justina’s Law” that would protect all children and their families from ever falling into such a pernicious trap.

    I would think the Pelletiers would be in favor of having Justina’s Law address the problem in a broader, more fundamental way, as you so articulately lay it out. Does anyone know where they stand on this?

    Report comment

    • Dear Russerford, Thank you for your comment. I remain in contact with the Lou Pelletier, and trust me when I say they wanted much broader legislation. When you go stomping on the Hill, you soon realize that you have to be realistic. The question changes from “What do I want?” to “What can I get done?”. Lou is involved with many groups, at this point, and one of them is parental rights.org. There is a Constitutional Amendment proposed as well, defining parental rights to make medical, educational, and religious decisions.

      Report comment

  9. Nancy — thanks for a wide ranging and deeply chilling article. As a website moderator and advocate for chronic pain patients and their families, I see different dimensions of the same problems you highlight. Medical authority has too often of late chosen to stop being medical or ethical (“first do no harm”) as it becomes more authoritarian in character.

    The people I serve as an information miner and research analyst rather often report having been referred by a medical practitioner for mental health evaluation under an ASSUMPTION that their medically unexplained symptoms must signal a psychosomatic disorder. Once a diagnosis of psychogenic “anything” enters their records, they are reliably denied further medical investigation and care by doctors who write them off as “head cases”. Parents of kids in crisis are too often written off in the same manner, to be denied even access to their kids after being told they are “facilitating” a child’s mental distortions.

    This is nonsense!

    I personally believe that the medical abuse heaped on the Pelletiers has much in common with one of the most egregious scandals of modern psychiatry: the destruction of thousands of families of day care center staff during the 1980s and 90s, on grounds that kids in such centers “remembered” Satanic rituals and physical abuse when interviewed by psychologists and therapists. The kids’ “repressed” memories were, of course, conditioned and created by the therapists who interviewed them and “led the witnesses”.

    I would go so far as to assert that so-called “somatization disorder” of the DSM-IV, now transformed into “Somatic Symptom Disorder” in the DSM-5, is an outright delusional system among psychiatric professionals. There is simply no scientific evidence to support or validate any such mental health entity. None. I have written elsewhere on Mad In America on this conundrum, in an article titled “It’s NOT All In Your Head.” I have also examined the close connection between diagnoses of “psychogenic pain” and what is properly designated “iatrogenic suicide”. Doctors are literally killing some of the patients whom they label with psychosomatic illness, by driving them into despair and invalidating them as reporters of their own illness experience.

    For anyone dealing with an entrenched medical mythologist who (falsely) asserts the validity of SSD or its predecessor as a medical entity, I suggest a reading of Angela Kennedy’s challenging book, “Authors of Our Own Misfortune? — Problems with Psychogenic Explanations for Physical Illnesses.” The book is devastating to those who would use circular reasoning and self-interested bias as a substitute for medical evidence.

    Thanks again for bringing urgency and insight into this important issue of psychiatric abuse and excess.


    Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D.
    Resident Research Analyst,
    Living With TN — an online community within Ben’s Friends

    Report comment