Free Justina

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
GloriaInTX's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4230
Free Justina

There is a petition circulating to let this girl go home after being in court ordered hospital care for a year when the doctors decided her illness was phsycological. Who do you side with ... the family or the hospital?

Fifteen-year-old Justina Pelletier has been separated from her family and placed under court-ordered care in a Boston hospital for more than a year. Justina?s family is now only allowed one 1-hour session and a 20-minute phone call a week, both heavily supervised. It has been a total nightmare.

Justina?s family has reached a point of desperation. That?s why Justina?s dad, Lou Pelletier, recently broke the court-ordered gag-order on his daughter?s condition. He says it?s life or death. Just over a year ago, he says Justina was ice skating with friends and enjoying a normal teenage life. Now, under the sole control of a Boston hospital, Lou says his daughter is wasting away.

- See more at: “Free Justina Now”! (Special Petition) - – Report Truth. Take Action.
“Free Justina Now”! (Special Petition) - – Report Truth. Take Action.

ABC News article

One day Justina Pelletier was a seemingly healthy teenager performing jumps and spirals at a skating show and six weeks later, on Feb. 10, 2013, she was in the emergency room at Children's Hospital in Boston after a severe bout with the flu, refusing to eat and barely able to walk.

Her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier of West Hartford, Conn., say their daughter was diagnosed and being treated at Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder with physical symptoms that can affect every part of the body. Justina's sister Jessica, 25, is also being treated for the disease.

But three days later, a team of doctors at Boston Children's said her symptoms were psychosomatic, according to the family. The hospital then filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, as required by law, because they suspected the parents of child abuse for subjecting their daughter to invasive medical treatments and denying her mental health therapy.

They laid out a treatment plan for Justina, which her parents refused to sign, and on Feb. 14, 2013, when they attempted to check their daughter out of Boston Children's to take her back to Tufts to resume medical treatment, the family said they were told by Boston Children's that they could not discharge Justina.

"We never got anything in writing," said Lou Pelletier, a financial planner and father of four girls. "While all the security guards were showing up, we actually called 911 and said our daughter had been kidnapped by Boston Children's Hospital."

Pelletier said three detectives spoke to the family, then they were brought into a room and the medical team told them the hospital had contacted the DCF and under a "51A," the section of Massachusetts law that mandates health officials and others to report suspected child abuse, and "they were taking custody of our daughter."

"We didn't even get a chance to say goodbye," he told

Pelletier said his family gave its statement to the state regarding allegations of child abuse in a legally mandated hearing within 72 hours of the state taking custody, but that the court process "took until April."

For the last year, the 15-year-old has been in state custody under court-ordered treatment in a complex medical case that has pitted those involved in her care against her family and enraged advocates.

Justina was diagnosed with somatoform pain disorder, a psychiatric condition when a person experiences physical pain for which no known medical explanation can be found, according to her family. The case highlights a growing concern among those with rare diseases and autoimmune disorders that physical symptoms that cannot be explained will be dismissed by doctors as psychosomatic.

Lou Pelletier said he and his wife have been only allowed to see their daughter on one-hour weekly supervised visits, first while she was in therapy at Boston Children's psychiatric ward Bader 5, then at a residential treatment center where Justina is now living in Framingham, Mass. They say her condition has deteriorated because the hospital has stopped all medical treatment for mitochondrial disease.

"She is going off a cliff," Pelletier said of his daughter, who is now confined to a wheelchair. "She looks awful and is pale and her hair is falling out. Her gums are receding and she has no body strength."

He said that until the gag order was in place, Justina was "sneaking notes" to the family saying that she is in permanent pain.

Justina's case made headlines last year in New England, triggering a debate over somatic illnesses ?- whether they are true medical issues or not and how they are treated. It also raises concerns about parental rights in choices of medical treatment and the lack of transparency in cases of alleged medical child abuse.

On Dec. 20, 2013, the court ruled the hospital should continue to retain custody, but appointed an independent investigator to take a new look at the case and a second guardian "ad litem" to legally represent the best interests of the girl, according to the Boston Globe, which did a two-part series on her case.

In the latest development, the Pelletiers have appealed to the state for custody, alleging "abuse of power." The court heard the case in January and again on Feb. 4, but postponed its decision until Feb. 13.

Because juvenile court records are confidential and Judge Joseph Johnston placed a gag order on all involved in the appeal, Justina's doctors and her caregivers have been unable to talk about the case, and it is unclear whether the teen is suffering from a physical illness or has psychiatric problems or both.

But Lou Pelletier broke his silence recently, telling, "I have got to save my daughter's life."

"The system has failed," he said. "I am battling the medical world that thinks it knows everything."

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families told in an email that it "does not comment or provide any information regarding children in our custody," and also cited the court order.

Boston Children's Hospital said in a prepared statement to that they "acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our staff in caring for this patient. We are proud of their work and positive impact on the patient."

"[O]ur clinicians are particularly distressed that the inaccuracies surrounding this case have caused undo concern for the many children and their families with mitochondrial disorders in our care," the statement added. "Misleading reports suggesting that the hospital holds patients in its inpatient psychiatric unit do not recognize the role of DCF as the legal guardian or the challenges inherent in finding appropriate lower acuity facilities for certain patients. In all cases, transfer to a less restrictive setting occurs as soon as an appropriate placement setting becomes available. Patient privacy prevents the hospital from commenting further."

Article is long, the rest is here:
Advocates Fight for Justin Pelletier, Teen Held by State in Psych Ward - ABC News

mom3girls's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537

My mom has been following this case very closely. Just recently a judge overruled DCF and stated they has misused their power.

Spacers's picture
Last seen: 11 months 3 days ago
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104

The ailing teenager at the center of an interstate custody battle is going back under the care of Tufts Medical Center, where she was being treated until another Boston hospital made a different diagnosis and urged child protection officials to take her away from her family.

The development in the case of Justina Pelletier, 15, came at an attorneys-only hearing in Boston, where a contempt of court order against her father was also lifted. Lou Pelletier violated a gag order when he appeared on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File" last month to decry Massachusetts Department of Children and Families' decision to take his daughter, who is from Connecticut and was only in the Bay State to get medical treatment.

Doctors at Tufts performed surgery on Justina and prescribed medication, all to treat her for a rare condition called Mitochondrial diagnosis. But when Pelletier took his daughter to Boston Children’s Hospital to seek treatment for a negative reaction to the flu last year, doctors determined that her problems were partly psychiatric and that the invasive treatment at Tufts constituted medical abuse. They contacted DCF, which took the girl.

Justina spent the past 13 months detained in two Massachusetts’s facilities against her parents’ wishes. She is currently being held at the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network facility in Framingham, Mass., after spending a year at the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Also at Monday's meeting, lawyers for the Pelletiers sought to have DCF transfer custody of the girl to their counterparts in Connecticut while the family continues to fight for her return. A decision on that issue could come on March 17.

The Pelletiers have allies in the Massachusetts Legislature, where 16 lawmakers drafted a resolution last week in an attempt to strip Justina’s custodial rights from the DCF.

“DCF is an agency in disarray,” said state Rep. Marc Lambardo, the Massachusetts state legislator who authored the resolution. “This is an administration that has been built on a lack of transparency and patronage.”

Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA and advocate for the Pelletier family, said the girl's yearlong saga began when her family sought out top-notch medical care and followed the advice of doctors.

“This is a situation where a young woman’s dignity isn’t being respected and she’s being treated as a piece of property,” Mason said.
The family has received an outpouring of national support after Lou Pelletier exposed the case on national television on Feb. 20. He told Fox News he doesn't regret breaking the gag order.

“DCF and the prosecution are beyond aggravated that I went to the media. But if I hadn’t, no one would know about the injustice that has taken place,” Pelletier said. “If it wasn’t for me breaking the gag order, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Tufts Medical Center diagnosed Justina in January 2012 with Mitochondrial Disease, a rare medical condition that is maternally inherited and caused by genetic mutation, according to Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.

At Tufts, Justina underwent an extensive medical treatment program involving invasive surgery and medication, all related to her Mitochondrial diagnosis. According to Lou Pelletier, Justina’s medical treatment was under the direction of Dr. Mark S. Korson, a respected physician who specialized in metabolic disorders, and all surgical procedures were approved by medical insurance.

But at Boston Children’s Hospital Dr. Jurrian Peters assessed Justina’s symptoms and brought in a psychologist, concluding that her medical problems were brought on by a psychiatric disease called Somatoform Disorder.

Boston Children’s Hospital asked the Pelletiers to sign a form agreeing to cease any further medical treatment in regards to the Mitochondrial Disease. When they objected and demanded to bring Justina back to Tufts where she had been treated for a year, they brought DCF in and stripped them of their custodial rights on grounds of alleged medical abuse.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and the Pelletiers’ attorney, said he was astounded after learning the facts of the case.

“The more I learned, the more I realized there was an issue within the Boston Children’s Hospital, DCF, and the Massachusetts juvenile court system,” Staver said.

Staver said that under DCF care, Justina has been denied education, religious services and adequate medical treatment. Subsequently, he said Justina’s health is failing and she has fallen two grades behind her classmates.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of Charity Defense Organizations, took an active role in advancing a national campaign to “Free Justina.”

He led a prayer vigil Saturday outside the Framingham facility, where Justina remains, in the company of family, friends and fellow advocates of Justina’s cause.

“We are experiencing an avalanche of support,” Mahoney said. “We struck a nerve in the hearts of Americans about parental rights and the encroachment of government in the private lives of everyday citizens.”

Justina Pelletier's family wins right to take her back to preferred doctors | Fox News

GloriaInTX's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4230

The judge has now awarded permanent custody to Massachusetts DCF. This makes me sick for this poor family. I don't see how this can happen legally in the U.S.

A long-running child custody case took a dramatic turn Tuesday, when a Massachusetts juvenile court judge awarded “permanent” custody of teen-ager Justina Pelletier to the state Department of Children and Families.

The ruling by Judge Joseph Johnston leaves it up to the agency, not the court, to decide whether or when Pelletier should be returned to her West Hartford, Conn., home.

“It’s a huge ruling,” said a person who had been briefed on the decision. “It’s a setback for the parents.”

This person said the state, which has had temporary custody of Pelletier for more than a year, has no immediate plans to have the 15-year-old sent back home, or to a facility in her home state.

Johnston also denied a request by out-of-state lawyer Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel in Florida to represent the girl’s parents.

By awarding permanent custody, the judge is effectively putting in a more final form a ruling that he made three months ago. After completing a trial on the case, in which he heard testimony from Pelletier herself, as well as her parents and the girl’s health providers, the judge concluded there was sufficient evidence to find the parents were unfit to care for the complex medical and psychiatric needs of their daughter.

But the judge suspended a decision on permanent custody while hoping to broker a compromise that might work better for all involved. He appointed a court investigator to advise the judge and come up with possible new solutions.

The investigator, called a guardian ad litem, enthusiastically tried to find ways to work with the parents on a new plan but later found the situation highly difficult, according to the person familiar with the ruling.

Since the start of the year, Justina Pelletier’s situation has increasingly drawn national media attention, driven largely by several conservative Christian organizations, including Liberty Counsel, that have taken the case up as an example of government intrusion into the sanctity of parental rights.

Pelletier is at a residential facility in Framingham, Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, and it remains unclear whether or when the state child-protection agency will act on its stated efforts to get the girl back to her home state. Its previous efforts to try to find a residential treatment center for her in Connecticut have failed, largely due to the reluctance of many providers to get involved in a high-profile controversy. One facility in Connecticut, which had tentatively agreed to accept Justina last year, balked after the father, Lou, threatened to sue them.

Tuesday’s decision came in response to a motion, presented by the girl’s court-appointed lawyer and the lawyers for her parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier, which called for the parents to be awarded “conditional custody” of their daughter.

The Department of Children and Families took emergency custody of the teen on Valentine’s Day 2013 after a diagnostic dispute arose between doctors at Tufts Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital over the causes of her medical problems, including difficulty eating and walking.

Tufts doctors had been treating Pelletier for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders affecting cellular energy production, but physicians at Children’s concluded that her symptoms were largely psychiatric in origin. Her parents rejected the new diagnosis, and when they tried to move the girl back to Tufts, the Children’s team notified the state that it suspected the parents of medical child abuse.

Pelletier remained at Children’s for almost a year, most of the time in a locked psychiatric ward, and meanwhile the case gained national attention.

In late January, she was moved to the Framingham facility, though she continues to be treated by Children’s doctors on an outpatient basis.

‘Permanent’ custody of Justina Pelletier awarded to state of Massachusetts - Health & wellness - The Boston Globe

Spacers's picture
Last seen: 11 months 3 days ago
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104


GloriaInTX's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4230

Unbelievable. Even if she does have mental problems how is it that they are able to hold this girl against her will but not institutionalize people with know mental problems like schizophrenia?

UPDATE: As soon as this story hit we got a report the DCF tucked their tail and reversed the decision in order to avoid a media firestorm. Please read the entire story believe. Regardless of whether or not DCF is sticking with the skype only visitation limits, it doesn’t change the fact the DCF actually chose to do this in the first place. has learned, through a source very close to the situation in Massachusetts, that Justina Pelletier’s family has been stripped of their rights to visit with their daughter. This just days after a judge ruled custody of Justina will be permanently controlled by the state of Massachusetts.
The report we have says the parents may now only communicate with Justina via controlled and supervised Skype conversations. In essence, Justina now has fewer rights than someone convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Justina Pelletier is now, without question, being held captive against her will and against the will of her family. The state has provided no solid evidence justifying her incarceration. Court documents show the four main reasons the judge decided to award permanent custody to the state, but the reasons shouldn’t justify the incarceration of a private American citizen.
Right now everything points at DCF (Department of Children & Families) pulling the strings. The DCF has been ruthless in fighting against the rights of the Pelletier family and now appears to be positioning for the removal of virtually all rights of the family as it pertains to their daughter.
More updates will be posted as soon as they become available.

Read more at LIBERTY NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Breaking – Pelletier Parents Stripped of Visitation Rights, Forced to Communicate with Justina Pelletier Through Skype UPDATE: DCF Reverses! |