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BenSwann.com has been closely following the story of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier, who has been in the custody of Boston Children’s Hospital for over one year against her parents’ will. Earlier today, the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families (DCF) broke its silence on what is now a highly-publicized case.
Earlier this week, a Suffolk County judge ruled that Justina be moved out of a medical facility and put into a foster home.
Justina’s parents, Lou and Linda, have been fighting to get their daughter back home ever since the hospital initially took custody of her last February. Years ago doctors diagnosed Justina with mitochondrial disease, which causes loss of muscle control. Despite this diagnosis, Justina was able to live a happy and relatively normal life with her family in Connecticut.
During a visit to Boston Children’s Hospital during February 2013, doctors claimed that the teen has somatoform disorder, not mitochondrial disease. Somatoform disorder is a mental disorder — not a physical one, like mitochondrial disease.
The hospital ordered that Justina be taken off all of her mitochondrial and pain medication. Lou and Linda did not think this was the best plan of action and wanted to bring their daughter home. Officials would not allow that. The parents were subsequently escorted out of the hospital by security personnel. Only four days later, they found out they had lost custody of their daughter due to “both parents’ resistance towards recommended treatment plans” and “overmedicalizing” the girl. They remain heartbroken and furious.
Lou and Linda were both incredibly emotional following the hearing this week.
Today the state spoke out on Justina’s situation. Massachusetts DCF spokesman, Alec Loftus said, “Our primary goal has always been the health and well-being of Justina. We want the parents to be able to work with the providers and courts to ultimately move Justina back to her home state of Connecticut. That is the objective, and is consistent with our previous efforts to find an appropriate placement near her home. A medical team has been identified at Tufts, the family’s provider of choice, with the clinical expertise to care for Justina.”
While this sounds like positive news for Lou and Linda, the parents are not very hopeful.
Lou told The Blaze, “They have thrown more carrots out there over the last 13 months, dangling, teasing us, and that’s the cruelest thing you can do.” He claimed the state has made several broken promises regarding the Justina’s custody in the past. “Actions speak louder than words,” he said.
On the bright side, however, there will no longer be a March 24 hearing to determine whether or not Lou violated the judge’s gag order when he spoke out to the media earlier this month. The motion to hold him in contempt of court was dropped.
The next court hearing, when Justina’s custody status will be further discussed, is set for March 17.
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