Health Impact News Editor Comments

While the Justina Pelletier story has gained coverage in the national mainstream media, which has for the most part rallied to the side of the parents, the judge presiding over her case continues to refuse to release the girl to her parents’ custody. After the most recent court date on Monday, the family issued the following statement to Fox CT:

Boston, March 17, 2014–

“At the hearing today, Judge Johnston took under advisement the motions previously submitted by the Pelletiers, but refused to take action about Justina’s care or custody.”

“Despite Justina’s worsening condition, Judge Johnston still has not enforced his ruling to transfer Justina’s medical care to Tufts. Justina remains at the Framingham Foster Facility and has not been seen by a single doctor, apart from an emergency room visit on Saturday, due to her declining medical condition.”

Earlier in the day, Justina’s parents were interviewed on the popular daytime television program Dr. Phil (video of segment above.) The parents were able to once again explain their story to a national audience and tell how the Massachusetts DCF was used by Boston Children’s Hospital to seize custody of their daughter due to a disagreement over treatment. Justina was being treated for mitochondrial disease, but new doctors were reportedly assigned to her case when she was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) and they said her diagnosis from Tufts Medical Center in Connecticut was incorrect, and that she was instead suffering from a psychiatric disorder. The parents disagreed and wanted to take her back to her original medical team, but the hospital took custody and locked her up in the psych ward instead. Prior to Justina being admitted to BCH, she was leading a normal life and even had competed in an ice skating event. Today, she is paralyzed from the waist down and her condition is deteriorating.

Since this case has gained such national media exposure, resulting in negative public sentiment against Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts DCF, lawmakers from both Justina’s home state in Connecticut, as well as Massachusetts, have tried to intervene to return Justina to her parent’s custody. But those efforts so far have failed. The most recent effort, submitted last week, was Massachusetts Resolution, which also failed:

A resolution requesting the immediate release of Connecticut teen, Justina Pelletier, written by Rep. Marc Lombardo and Rep. Jim Lyons of Massachusetts, is not moving forward.

“Due to parliamentary procedure, it only takes one objection from the floor to send it to committee where it will ultimately die. Rep David Linsky objected and the resolution was sent to committee where it will not be released,” said Rep. Marc Lombardo. (Source)

For more background on this story see our previous reports here.

Boston Children’s Hospital is part of the Harvard Medical School system, with strong ties to funding from the federal government. Boston Children’s Hospital “is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric hospital. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 on-staff members of the Institute of Medicine and 9 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.” (Source)

There have to be strong political ties to this hospital that is putting pressure on this judge to not release Justina.

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