Returning to her parents home after spending 16 months out of their custody, Justina Pelletier is now speaking out about her treatment while in the care of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and at Boston Children's Hospital.
"This should never happen again to anybody," the 16-year-old from Connecticut said in an interview with Mike Huckabee on Fox News. "They should never be put through what I'm put through. They were so mean and nasty to me and they were being mean and terrible to my family also and no one should be put through that — no one."
Justina was taken out of her parents custody on Feb. 14, 2013, after they took her to Boston Children's Hospital when she was suffering complications with the flu. At this hospital, physicians disagreed that Justina had mitochondrial disease, a diagnosis given to her by a doctor at Tuft's Medical Center, and said she had somatoform disorder instead, one that would put the root of her physical symptoms as psychological.
"When we went to the emergency room there, everything went," Justina said, trailing off and shaking her head as she recalled the beginning of her treatment at Boston Children's.
After the Pelletiers disagreed with a medical plan proposed by doctors at Boston Children's, which took Justina off her treatments for mitochondrial disease, they said DCF stepped in, taking custody of Justina and accusing them of medical child abuse after being alerted to concerns from hospital staff. Over the next year, Justina's parents were in and out of court, trying to have custody and care returned to them.
During this time, Justina said didn't know too much about what was going on.
"They didn't really tell me anything. They told me that DCF took custody of me and that my family can't talk to me. … They were saying that they were over-medicalizing, which they were not," Justina told Huckabee.
Watch this segment from Huckabee's interview:
At another point in the interview, Justina said that "no one was on my side" at the hospital.
"Everyone thought I was faking all this medical stuff," she said. "They stopped all my medicine. They didn't care. They were saying I was improving, which I was not."
While in state custody, Justina only saw her family once a week for a supervised hour and spoke with them once a week on the phone.
"It was really hard because we couldn't talk about any of the things we wanted to talk about," the teen told Huckabee.
On June 18, 2014, Justina finally went home.
Lou Pelletier called his daughter's treatment at Boston Children's "all a mad psychiatric experiment."
"They had their own agenda and that's a sad thing," Lou said.
As a result of Justina's experience, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced legislation that would prohibit federal funding for medical experimentation on minors who are wards of the state.
H.R. 4989, nicknamed "Justina's Law," would prevent hospitals that have policies that allow wards of the state to be involved in research. Boston Children's has such a policy.
“Whether it is one child or thousands, it is our duty to guarantee that children are kept safe from harm while in the custody of their respective states," Bachmann said in a statement. "Not all these children have families like the Pelletiers willing or able to advocate on their behalf. Sixteen months ago, Justina was a figure skater. Today, she cannot stand, sit, or walk on her own. It is unconscionable what happened to Justina, and we must do all we can to prevent it from ever happening again. Removing federal funding from such experimentation is an important first step.”
"Oh my gosh, that's awesome," Justina said after hearing about the proposed law named after her on Huckabee's show.
Moving forward, Linda said they are taking "baby steps" at bringing Justina back up to speed. At this point heading back to school soon for one hour a day.
Justina is just happy to be home.
"I love them, I love them so much. I can't believe I'm home with them," she told Huckabee.
See more of Huckabee's interview with the Pelletiers on Fox News Insider.
(H/T: Daily Mail)