An Amber Alert has been issued for a critically ill nine-month-old boy who was taken from Seattle’s Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center by his non-custodial mother as he was awaiting life-saving surgery.Police said 35-year-old Tina Marie Carlsen (pictured) concealed the infant, Riley Rogers, in a diaper bag and left the hospital around 6 a.m. Thursday, a day before her son was scheduled for surgery for kidney failure.
“The child will die imminently if he’s not treated,” Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said.
Carlsen, who also uses the name Tina Chiu, does not have legal custody of her son and police said she had no right to remove him from the hospital.
Seattle police issued a statewide Amber Alert on Thursday night in their search for a 35-year-old woman who smuggled her critically ill infant son out of Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle.
“The child will die imminently if he’s not treated,” Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said.
Tina Marie Carlsen concealed 9-month-old Riley Rogers in a diaper bag and left the hospital at about 6 a.m. Thursday, even though Riley was scheduled for surgery to treat life-threatening kidney failure, police said. Carlsen may be driving a green 1994 Plymouth Voyager minivan, with Washington license 270-SVS.
“We are most concerned with finding the boy in time to save his life and will deal with Carlsen’s legal issues later,” police said.
June 29th 2006
Mother held in kidnapping ordered released by judge
Seattle Times staff reporters
Tina Marie Carlsen, the mother arrested on kidnapping charges after smuggling her 9-month-old son out of a hospital before he was to undergo surgery last week, was released from King County Jail this morning after agreeing to conditions that include having no contact with her son.
Carlsen, who pleaded not guilty to second-degree kidnapping, appeared in King County Superior Court in a red jail suit. Halfway through the 20-minute hearing, she turned to smile and blow kisses at supporters who were seated in the audience. Judge Ronald Kessler released Carlsen on personal recognizance after she agreed to stipulations, including not seeing her son and living with her mother, Kathy Carlsen.
Prosecutors had originally asked for a $500,000 bail for the 34-year-old Sumner woman, but on Wednesday said they would not oppose her release. Carlsen was charged with kidnapping after she put her son Riley in a diaper bag and snuck him out of Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center on June 22.
State Child Protective Services had taken custody of the baby on June 9 after Carlsen refused to go along with doctors’ advice that Riley, who has kidney problems, needed to have a surgery that would make him ready to start dialysis. A statewide Amber Alert was issued prior to Carlsen’s arrest on Saturday.
After her arrest, Carlsen, who breastfeeds, sought support of women’s advocates and friends and family in order to continue providing milk for Riley. Supporters have said Carlsen is a devoted mother who dotes on Riley and is concerned about the side effects of dialysis and surgery and wanted desperately to explore other treatment options.
After Carlsen’s court appearance this morning her friend, Megan Tormey, said she was angry that it took four days to get Carlsen a working breast pump in jail. “If the doctors were so concerned about Riley’s health, why weren’t they demanding his milk?” she said.
Kathy Carlsen said she was relieved that her daughter was being released from jail but that worry over Riley’s health and welfare continues. “I know it’s going to be hard for her, and for the whole family,” she said.
Riley has been returned to Children’s to undergo surgery to implant devices enabling him to have kidney dialysis.
When the Amber Alert was issued, police said Riley was in “imminent danger” of dying without emergency surgery. The next day, the hospital’s medical director issued a statement saying Riley, while vulnerable, was not in imminent danger.
This week Seattle spokesman Sean Whitcomb said the department would not have issued an Amber Alert had it not believed the child was in imminent danger. “We are very judicious when it comes to issuing these alerts, because we don’t want to be the agency that cried wolf,” he said.
While Carlsen has been in jail, an advocacy group called Citizens for Safe Birth has negotiated an arrangement to deliver a breast pump to Carlsen.”Everybody is losing sight of what Riley needs, which is his mother’s milk,” said Kelly Meinig, the president of the group. “It’s utterly absurd, the hoops we’ve had to go through.”
Riley’s father, Todd Rogers, said Wednesday that he was thankful to hear Carlsen could be released.
“She’s not a danger to anyone,” he said. “She lives for Riley.”
Rogers has defended Carlsen, and Wednesday he said she had simply been following the advice of relatives who have kidney disease to “search the world over” to find alternatives to dialysis.
“They told her she was doing the right thing,” Rogers said.
Carol M. Ostrom: 206-464-2249 or email@example.com
June 30th 2006
Seattle Times staff writer
Tina Marie Carlsen, the mother arrested for kidnapping her 9-month-old son from a hospital before he was to undergo surgery last week, was released from King County Jail on Thursday morning after agreeing to conditions that limit contact with her son.
Carlsen appeared in King County Superior Court in a red jail jumpsuit and pleaded not guilty to second-degree kidnapping. Halfway through the 20-minute hearing, she turned to smile and blow kisses at supporters in the audience.
Judge Ronald Kessler released Carlsen on personal recognizance after she agreed to stipulations that include not seeing her son unless allowed by Child Protective Services and living with her mother, Kathy Carlsen.
Prosecutors had originally asked for a $500,000 bail for the 34-year-old Sumner woman, but on Wednesday said they would not oppose her release.
Carlsen was charged with kidnapping after she put her son, Riley Rogers, in a diaper bag and smuggled him out of Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center. A statewide Amber Alert was issued and Carlsen was arrested on Saturday.
State Child Protective Services had taken custody of the baby on June 9 after Carlsen refused to agree with doctors’ advice that Riley, who has a kidney condition, needed immediate surgery that would make him ready to start dialysis.
On Thursday, Child Protective Services decided to allow Carlsen supervised visits with the baby.
Kathy Spears, state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) spokeswoman, declined to say how much supervision.
Riley has been returned to Children’s Hospital; a Pierce County judge has ordered the surgery.
Late Thursday, Carlsen and leaders of Citizens for Safe Birth rallied for a last-ditch effort to halt Riley’s surgery, now scheduled for 11 a.m. today, according to the family.
Michael Shipley, Carlsen’s Tacoma lawyer in the battle to regain custody of Riley, said he would file a motion in Pierce County Superior Court early today asking for an emergency stay to the surgery.Debra O’Conner, of Citizens, said supporters were also appealing to Gov. Christine Gregoire through an e-mail campaign waged from the group’s support Web site, www.helpbabyriley.com. Supporters have said Carlsen is a devoted and natural-minded mother who dotes on Riley, feeding him organic food and using cloth diapers. She was concerned about the side effects of dialysis and surgery, and wanted to explore other treatment options, her friends and family say.
Riley’s father, Todd Rogers, who was ordered to have no more than four hours of supervised visits with the baby each week, has defended Carlsen.
After her arrest, Carlsen, who breast-feeds, sought the support of women’s advocates and friends and family in order to continue providing milk for Riley.
Megan Tormey, a friend of Carlsen’s, said Thursday she was angry that it took four days to get a working breast pump into the jail.
“If the doctors were so concerned about Riley’s health, why weren’t they demanding his milk?” she asked.
Kathy Carlsen said she was relieved that her daughter was being released but that worry over Riley’s welfare continues.
“It’s going to be hard for the whole family,” she said. “The next step, hopefully, is to get Riley back.”
Seattle Times staff reporter Carol Ostrom contributed to this story.
Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Baby’s kidney illness pits parents against doctors
Kidnapping case reveals conflict between homeopathic, traditional Western medicine
Sunday, July 16, 2006
(07-16) 04:00 PST Tacoma , Wash. — Standing just outside Pierce County Juvenile Court the other day, Todd Rogers conceded that it was probably wrong of Tina Marie Carlsen to have taken the couple’s 9-month-old son, Riley, from a Seattle hospital two weeks ago, as the child awaited what doctors said would be lifesaving kidney surgery.
But maybe not, he said.
“It was all so confusing, I was 50-50 on whether we should do the operation,” explained Rogers, 38, a construction worker.
“But Tina was really opposed to it, and I kept thinking, well, maybe she knows something the rest of us don’t know. It was like a mother’s intuition thing. It was something she just really felt in her soul. And a lot of the time, you know, that mother’s intuition is straight-on correct.”
Authorities say Carlsen, 34, was deeply in the wrong — to take her son from the hospital June 22, hiding him in a diaper bag and prompting a nationwide Amber Alert, and to oppose the surgery, which she said should be a last resort after naturopathic alternative measures were tried.
Riley Rogers was found two days later with Carlsen, quickly returned to the hospital and operated on earlier this month. And Thursday, in a temporary resolution to part of the tangled case, a juvenile court judge here awarded custody to Rogers.
Carlsen, while awaiting prosecution in the kidnapping case, will be allowed several state-supervised visits a week with Riley, whom she is breast-feeding. Her lawyer said that Carlsen would pump her milk when she was apart from Riley, and that he was working to increase the frequency of her visits.
With a parent staunchly opposing doctor-ordered surgery, the case of Baby Riley has overtones of previous cases in which the opposition arose from religious convictions.
But in this case, religious issues aren’t involved unless one believes that Carlsen and her many vocal supporters have a religious belief in the power of homeopathic medicine.
Those supporters say the decision to operate on Riley was a classic case of medical-establishment arrogance, and that doctors and law-enforcement officials have wrongly depicted Carlsen as a fanatic.
“This mother’s rights were annihilated in this case,” said Kelly Meinig, president of Citizens for Safe Birth, a nonprofit Seattle group that advocates alternative approaches to childbirth and child-care issues. “We had doctors saying, ‘You have to do this. You have to do what we say or we will put you in jail.’ ”
Carlsen’s supporters have established the Web site www.helpbabyriley.com.
For Rogers, the father, who said he was on friendly terms with Carlsen but is neither married to nor living with her, Carlsen’s desperate decision to take her baby was the unfortunate result of doctors’ continued unwillingness to listen to her concerns.
“Any mother in the world would have responded the way Tina did if they were pushed to that point,” said Rogers, a tall, balding man with an intense gaze. “She was pushed into it, is what happened.”
To cite one example, Rogers said, doctors and hospital officials were dismissive of Carlsen’s request that their baby be given an ionic foot bath, a process in which he said electrodes are used to remove toxins from the body.
“We were both scared stiff of surgery, so we wanted to explore this first,” said Rogers. “And we said to the doctors, ‘OK, if it’s smoke and mirrors, prove it’s smoke and mirrors, and then we can move forward.’ ”
Rogers said the conflict could have been handled as “sort of an East-meets-West situation,” and had unnecessarily turned into a debacle.
“It needed to flow like water, not like bricks,” he said.
The baby was born with poorly functioning kidneys, doctors said. In the June 30 operation at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, doctors surgically inserted a catheter in him “in preparation for future dialysis treatments,” according to a hospital statement.
Speaking to reporters just after the baby was taken, Children’s medical director, Dr. Richard Molteni, said it was critical that he be returned for treatment.
“You wouldn’t be able to spot him as an ill child, but his serious disease has been slowly progressing to a point where now there is a pressing need for more definitive medical care,” Molteni said. “A minor change in his health — dehydration or even a cold — could quickly become a life-threatening situation for Riley.”
Added Molteni: “We are committed to involving families in the health care decisions for their children. As with all patients, we met frequently with Riley’s mom and dad to discuss his health and decide on a course for his care. We heard their wishes to include alternative-care treatments, and we provided them alternative therapies in the hospital, including an offer to bring a naturopathic physician into Children’s to complement the traditional medical care.”
Courts have given broad latitude to state authorities to determine a child’s best interests when there is a severe conflict between doctors and parents over a life-threatening condition. In one commonly cited Wisconsin case in 1972, the court said the state may overrule a parent’s decision that would “jeopardize the health or safety of the child.”
Carlsen, who was released on $500,000 bail in her kidnapping case, mainly nodded and said “yes” in court Thursday, as Judge John McCarthy asked her if she understood the terms of the visitation agreement, reached by lawyers for her, for Rogers and for the state.
Carlsen deferred to her lawyer, Michael Shipley, for comment.
“Let me assure you,” Shipley told the courtroom, “this mother has nothing but her child’s best interests at heart.”
This article appeared on page A – 18 of the San Francisco Chronicle