Parents fight for custody of Justina Pelletier after Mass. hospital locks her in psych ward
A number of forces are fighting over the care of Connecticut teen Justina Pelletier. Parents Lou and Linda Pelletier agree with doctors at Tufts Medical Center who claim Justina has mitochondrial disease. But Boston Children’s Hospital diagnosed Justina with a mental illness and accused the Pelletiers of over-medicating their child. The state of Massachusetts has assumed custody of the teen while the battle rages on.
BY CAROL KURUVILLA / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2014, 2:24 PM
A MIRACLE FOR JUSTINA/VIA FACEBOOK
Parents Lou and Linda Pelletier claim their daughter hasn’t been receiving proper education or treatment after she was placed under the custody of the state of Massachusetts.
One year after Justina Pelletier was locked into a psychiatric ward at Boston Children’s Hospital, doctors, lawyers, and family members are still struggling to answer the question—is this teenager really in pain?
Doctors at Tufts Medical Center diagnosed Justina Pelletier with mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that affects how cells produce energy and can wreak havoc on nearly all of the body’s life-sustaining systems. But on Feb. 10, 2013, another group of doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital decided that the 15-year-old’s disease was psychosomatic—which meant that Pelletier’s problems were caused by a mental illness and not by physical ailments. When her parents attempted to take Pelletier back for treatment at Tufts, Boston Children’s called in the cops.
The young girl was then thrown into a custody and medical battle that has been raging for more than a year. Justina is still under custody of the state of Massachusetts, but her parents haven’t stopped fighting to get her back.
“We are David, not against Goliath, but against two Goliaths— Boston Children’s Hospital and the State of Massachusetts,” dad Lou Pelletier told ABCNews.com. “To me it’s a hopeless cause and the only way to win is in the court of public opinion.”
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