Justina Pelletier was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease several years ago. Her doctors prescribed treatments with drugs and surgeries. With the prescribed treatments, she has been living the active and normal life of a 15 year old teenage girl.
In early 2013, Justina caught the flu. Knowing her medical history, her parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital to see a specialist. While at the hospital, a new team of doctors took over Justina’s case and subsequently came up with a different diagnosis than her previous doctor. They determined that Justina was suffering from samatoform disease, a form of mental illness which calls for an entirely different set of treatments. They ordered the girl to go off of all her medications.
Justina’s parents, Lou and Linda disagreed with the new doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital. That’s when the doctors accused her parents of creating the disorder by over medicalizing her. Hospital security quickly ushered the parents out of the hospital and four days later they were informed that they no longer had legal custody of their daughter.
Over the past year, Lou and Linda have been allowed one 20 minute call to Justina per week. They are also allowed to have a one hour visit every Friday, but the visits are monitored. Justina has had to resort to slipping her parents notes hidden in origami figures, but when the hospital discovered what she was doing, she was forced her to undergo what the hospital calls ‘behavior modification’ but what Lou Pelletier calls torture.
After a year of treatment for her so-called mental disorder, Justina has gone from an outgoing and energetic teenager to being paralyzed from the waist down, which fits with the mitochondrial disease she was originally diagnosed with. Her speech is now slurred and she has trouble swallowing so much so that her mother fears Justina may choke to death.
Liberty Council got involved in the case in February. According to their press release:
“A constitutional law firm, Liberty Counsel got on the case in late February when Lou Pelletier spoke to the media in violation of an unconstitutional gag order issued by the Juvenile Court upon the parents to prevent them from speaking to the media about their daughter. After the father spoke to the media, DCF (sought to hold him in contempt. Liberty Counsel began representing the Pelletiers and submitted a brief in opposition to the enforcement of the gag order.”
“After four days of Liberty Counsel being on the case, DCF agreed to drop the contempt motion, the judge dissolved the gag order, and he signed an agreed order for the return of Justina’s medical care back to Tufts Medical Center.”
“Liberty Counsel then changed local counsel and brought in Massachusetts attorney Phil Moran when DCF did not set medical appointments with Tufts Medical Center in violation of the agreed order. Then in March of 2014, Judge Joseph Johnston issued an order granting permanent custody of Justina to Massachusetts DCF. ‘Justina and her family were devastated by this order from Judge Johnston,’ said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. ‘This outrageous order did not deter us. We always believed that one way or another we would prevail and get Justina home,’ said Staver.”
“Liberty Counsel filed a motion to hold DCF in contempt. Then, on April 16, 2014, Liberty Counsel and local counsel filed a Writ of Habeas with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, requesting that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court order the Department of Children and Families to bring Justina to court and defend its actions in keeping her from her parents for more than a year.”
“While Liberty Counsel handled the legal side, Rev. Pat Mahoney worked with the team, along with Keith Mason of Personhood USA. Rev. Mahoney made many trips to Boston and met with many people in the process. Liberty Counsel began working directly with the top officials of Massachusetts DCF, Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Governor Deval Patrick on reuniting the family. Liberty Counsel also coordinated and arranged meetings with legislators in Massachusetts and members of Congress in Washington, DC.”
“Three to four weeks ago, as a result of these negotiations, Secretary Polanowicz of Massachusetts HHS leaked to the media a four-point reunification plan, which included moving Justina to the Susan Wayne Center, closer to her family in Connecticut. The family was allowed frequent visits and they were allowed to finally speak with the Tufts Medical Center team about Justina’s treatment.”
“On May 30, 2014, Liberty Counsel and local counsel filed a Motion for Relief From Judgment with Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Johnston. On June 6, one week later, DCF filed its Response to the Motion, agreeing with Liberty Counsel and requesting that the court return Justina to the custody of her parents.”
“On Tuesday, June 10, Judge Johnston issued an order requesting four points to be addressed, including the possible continued involvement of Connecticut DCF. Liberty Counsel attorneys worked with multiple parties to present an agreed response to Judge Johnston. Last Friday, June 13, Liberty Counsel announced that all interested parties agreed that Justina should immediately be returned home and there should be no more involvement of Massachusetts DCF, and Connecticut DCF had no reason to be involved. The court filings included Massachusetts DCF and HHS, the Guardian ad Litem, court-appointed counsel for Justina, Tufts Medical Center, JRI Susan Wayne Center for Excellence, and Liberty Counsel. Yesterday, Judge Johnston issued an order stating that Justina should return home today, June 18, 16 months after this ordeal began. Massachusetts DCF and HHS are no longer involved, nor is Connecticut DCF, which was never really involved in the case, even though Judge Johnston continually urged their involvement. The case is now closed.”
“‘When this decision to release Justina was issued, shouts of joy were heard in the Liberty Counsel offices. Lou and Linda Pelletier and Justina’s three older sisters were ecstatic. Our legal team has been working long days, nights, and weekends with all parties to get Justina home. This has been an emotionally draining time for us. I cannot imagine the stress the family and Justina endured,’ said Staver.”
“‘The legal filings, public pressure, and lots of prayer ultimately resulted in Massachusetts DCF reversing his opinion 180 degrees. This is a wonderful day,’ Staver said. ‘The result is a miracle!’”
The wrongful kidnapping, torture and imprisonment of Justine Pelletier is finally over. The treatment she received during her imprisonment by Boston’s Children’s Hospital has made Justina so weak that her father had to carry her into the house. The hospital took a 15 year old girl who with her previous treatments was a normal teenage and turned her into a handicapped young lady.
If I were Lou and Linda Pelletier, I would be filing a humongous lawsuit against everyone involved in the kidnapping, torture and wrongful medical treatment of their daughter Justina. They should not be allowed to destroy a child’s health and parental authority just because they disagree with the diagnosis of another qualified doctor. Someone has to stop the socialistic medical field from taking control of our children and dictating to parents.