PUYALLUP, Wash. – Six months after his mother sneaked him out of a Seattle hospital in a diaper bag in hopes of avoiding court-ordered surgery, toddler Riley Rogers is doing well – growing teeth, learning to talk and offering visitors a big yellow ball.
His mother, Tina Carlsen, is happy to have him back. But she also faces serious debts from the ordeal – such as an unpaid $10,000 air ambulance bill.
Carlsen lost custody of Riley for nearly five months this past year after she objected to doctors’ plans to treat the boy, who was born with malfunctioning kidneys, and slipped him out of Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in June.
Her actions prompted an Amber Alert, and when she and Riley were found in a vehicle in Yelm, he was rushed to the hospital because authorities believed his health might be critical.
Carlsen wanted to seek out natural treatments for the boy, such as herbs or other remedies.
A Pierce County Superior Court judge sided with doctors, who said he needed surgery to prepare him for dialysis.
He had the surgery during the summer, and Carlsen pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree custodial interference in exchange for a suspended one-year sentence.
Two months ago, child-welfare authorities backed out of Carlsen’s life, saying she had followed medical advice for Riley, who had surgery and now spends nights hooked to a kidney dialysis machine.
She and Riley’s father, Todd Rogers, share custody, although they live separately.
“That kid couldn’t be happier. That’s the part we’re so blessed on,” Todd Rogers told the Seattle Times.
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