The parents of Justina Pelletier were in a Massachusetts court room again Tuesday and, based on local reports, their reaction upon leaving after they continued their fight for custody and medical care of their teenager was less hopeful than the month before.
Nearly a year ago, the Connecticut teen was taken from her parents' custody by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families at the request of Boston Children's Hospital who disagreed with her diagnosis and treatment. Justina Pelletier had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease but physicians at Boston Children's believed she had a psychological disease called somatoform disorder instead. This disagreement eventually led to the Pelletiers losing custody, at least temporarily, and spurred a national debate regarding parents' rights in cases deemed "medical abuse."
Linda and Lou Pelletier with their daughter Justina. (Image source: A Miracle for Justina/Facebook)
On the family's previous day in court on Jan. 10, a judge ruled Justina be transferred to another facility. WTIC-TV reported that Boston Children's hospital confirmed the girl was no longer being cared for at its facility. After this decision, her father Lou Pelletier said "justice maybe prevailed." But the girl's mother and father struck a different tone Tuesday.
"She's not being treated medically, or going to school," Lou Pelletier said, according to the Hartford Courant. "There are so many rights being broken and no one's being held accountable."
Though Justina's school was paying for her continued education while she was away, her mother Linda Pelletier told the newspaper it didn't seem that she had received any education since being taken into Boston Children's nearly a year ago.
"She can't write or spell, and it's scary," Linda Pelletier told the Courant.
Watch WTIC-TV's report about the latest on Justina Pelletier and her parents fight for her custody:
The Hartford Courant noted that Dr. Mark Korson, a doctor from Tufts Medical Center who supports Justina's diagnosis of mitochondrial disease, was with the family in court Tuesday.
"I have a right as a U.S. citizen to take my daughter to what doctor I want to, and it's been taken away," Linda Pelletier said, according to the newspaper.
The Pelletiers will appear again in court Feb. 13, three days after Justina would have been out of her parents' custody for a year.
Since the Pelletier's case gained attention, other parents started speaking out of similar experiences with Boston Children's Hospital where custody of their children was threatened to be taken away after they disagreed with treatment or a diagnosis. Boston Children's Hospital is under investigation by state agencies.