Justina Pelletier was only recently returned to the custody of her parents after spending more than a year in the hospital and in state custody. The teen sat down with Mike Huckabee on Fox News to discuss what many have deemed “kidnapping” or “captivity.” The Connecticut girl spent 16 months in the custody of Massachusetts and at the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Justina Pelletier was removed from her the custody of her parents on February, 14, 2013. The young woman was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease during her early teenage years. The condition is a genetic disorder that often causes weakness and the loss of muscle coordination. But she lived a normal life.
In February, the Connecticut teenager was hospitalized for the flu. After being admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital she was set to be examined by her specialist. A team of doctors the girl had never seen before arrived and questioned the original diagnosis. The Boston Children’s Hospital staffers ultimately declared an entirely different condition was afflicting the young woman.
Pelletier had this to say to Mike Huckabee about how she spent the past months of her life:
“This should never happen to anybody. They should never be put through what I’m put through. They were so mean and nasty to me and they were being mean and terrible to my family also. No one should be put through that – no one.”
Linda Pelletier, the mother of the teen, said that the doctors informed them that Justina had somatoform disorder. If the mother’s statements are accurate, Boston Children’s Hospital staffers immediately called the state’s Department of Children and Family, and the state refused to let the parents leave with their child. Somatoform disorder is a mental, not a physical illness.
West Hartford Psychologist Dean Hokanson told the local media that the Pelletier family was being accused of “too actively” pursuing health care matters for their daughter. Linda and Lou Pelletier were ultimately escorted from the Boston medical facility by the security staff. Four days after they took their daughter to the hospital to be seen for the flu, they lost custody. The distraught parents have been fighting to regain their rights and bring their daughter home ever since.
A Boston Children’s Hospital report stated that that Justina exhibited the signs of “regressive behavior” and added that both parents had shown “resistance” to the new recommended treatment plans.
Lou and Linda Pelletier told the staff at Boston Children’s Hospital that their daughter’s care and medications were upon the recommendation of other reputable physicians she had been seeing for many years. One of Justina Pelletier’s doctors is Tufts Medical Center Specialist Dr. Mark Korson.
Korson said in an email on behalf of the parents:
“I am dismayed. It feels like Justina’s treatment team is out to prove the diagnosis at all costs. The [Boston Children’s Hospital] team has demanded that Justina be removed from the home. This represents the most severe and intrusive intervention a patient can undergo for a clinical hunch.”
During her chat with Huckabee, Justina Pelletier also had this to say about living at Boston Children’s Hospital:
“They [hospital staffers] didn’t really tell me anything. They told me that DCF took custody of me and that my family can’t talk to me. They were saying that they were over-medicalizing, which they were not. Everyone though I was faking all this medical stuff. They stopped all my medicine. They didn’t care. They were saying I was improving, which I was not.”
Lou Pelletier believes that medical staff at Boston Children’s Hospital was engaged in a “mad psychiatric experiment” on his daughter. “They had their own agenda and that’s a sad thing,” the elder Pelletier said.
Because of the Justina Pelletier case a bi-partisan bill created to withhold federal funding for medical experiments on wards of the states which are also minors. House Resolution 4989 has been dubbed “Justina’s Law.” The legislation, if passed, will also stop the ability for hospitals that allow such experiments on child wards from being involved with research projects. Boston Children’s Hospital has such a ward of the state experiments policy.