A juvenile court judge in Boston ruled that the state of Massachusetts will keep custody of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier for now...but also appointed an independent investigator to take a new look at her case, according to the Boston Globe.
Pelletier has spent the past 10 months at Boston Children’s Hospital against her parents' wishes, most of it in a locked psychiatric ward.
Justina Pelletier with her parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier. Justina was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease but doctors at Children’s disagreed, thinking she has somatoform disorder and that in treating her for mitochondrial disease, Justina’s parents were overmedicalizing her and putting her health in jeopardy. (Image source: Facebook)
Pelletier was taken to Boston Children’s Hospital when she got the flu in February. Her parents said doctors at the hospital accused them of medical child abuse – something they vehemently oppose.
“I don’t understand how they can do this. I didn’t do anything wrong,” her sobbing mother, Linda Pelletier, said as she left the courtroom, the Globe reported.
Her father, Lou, said, “It’s a [expletive] corrupt state” as he left, the Globe said.
Pelletier's parents after the judge's ruling. (Image source: Boston Globe)
Judge Joseph Johnston slated another hearing for Jan. 10 and appointed a new guardian ad litem — who the Globe described as required under state law to take an “objective and even-handed” look at the facts in the case.
The judge is also weighing the possibility of letting Pelletier return to her family's West Hartford, Conn., home at some point and having Connecticut's child protection agency monitor her parents’ compliance with a strict rules concerning her care.
TheBlaze's Liz Klimas has reported extensively on this issue, including an investigative piece on Boston Children's history of taking children away from parents for medical reasons.
Children’s and the state agency declined to comment specifically to the Globe on Pelletier’s case, citing patient confidentiality.
More from the Globe:
The Globe, however, obtained records showing that they believed the girl was getting a series of needless medications and treatments, and that the parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, were blind to her severe psychiatric needs. The parents had a pattern of combative behavior with staff when they were displeased, records show. They had been investigated once before by the Connecticut child welfare agency for allegations related to Justina’s medical treatment. That case was ultimately dismissed.
The latter appears to be the heart of the battle: The hospital accusing the parents of being negligent and combative, and the parents noting that other renowned physicians agreed with Pelletier's previous treatment.
“Boston Children’s defines mitochondrial disease differently than Tufts [Medical Center, another facility where Justina received treatment], and they’re going to prove that Tufts is wrong,” Beth Maloney, a lawyer and activist, told TheBlaze. “All about ego.”
Here's a report from the Boston Globe:
Here's a report from WTIC-TV in Hartford, Conn.: