Judge Joseph Johnston, a Boston juvenile court judge, gave the state of Massachusetts permanent custody of Justina Pelletier until she turns 18 in a ruling that chastised the parents for mismanaging their daughter’s treatment. Justina will now be moved to a new foster care in North Shore.
Fifteen year old Justina Pelletier from West Hartford, CT., has been kept from her parents since admission to Boston Children’s Hospital in February 2013. Prior to admittance for what could be described as flu like symptoms, Justina was being treated by Dr. Mark Korson since 2011 at Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts. She was originally diagnosed her with mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder where the mitochondria, which is responsible for distributing energy within the cell, ceases to do so. When left untreated the disease eventually leads to the depletion of energy, affecting all the vital organs and systems.
Upon arrival at Boston Children’s Hospital to be treated for the flu, the Pelletier family intended her care to be under Justina’s longtime gastroenterologist (GI) who recently relocated there. Instead Justina was hijacked by staff psychologists who disagreed with Dr. Mark Korson’s diagnosis. A conflict arose that escalated between the family and the hospital. With egos disjointed, Justina was moved to a locked psychiatric unit and is no longer treated for mitochondrial disease (which requires a daily routine of cellular supplements and dietary adjustments). With her body now weakened, she can no longer walk on her own. She also suffered from nausea and had difficulty eating. However Justina’s been advised that her symptoms are not real but a somatoform disorder—a mental disorder characterized by symptoms that appear as physical illness or injury but cannot be explained fully by a general medical condition. Justina has had behavioral therapies forced upon her as well. The fact that her older sister is diagnosed with the same genetic disorder was not a consideration in validating Korson’s original diagnosis. Justina, prior to the medical diagnosis and care of Boston Children’s Hospital, was an ice skating competitor. She has since deteriorated to a wheel chair. Judge Joseph Johnston who has “sided with Boston Children’s claims that Justina needs mental health treatment, not medication. He said that the young girl was suffering from ‘a persistent and severe Somatic Symptom Disorder.’ ”
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Massachusetts were given initial custody of Justina and in a statement maintained that its “primary goal has always been the health and wellbeing of Justina, and finding a solution that would allow her to return to Connecticut”. They went on to say, “The department is exploring all options that will allow Justina to return to her home state where she has the support of her friends, family, school and community.” However it appears to observers that Justina’s health and wellbeing has been in steady decline since the change of diagnosis and treatment.
The Department of Children & Families (DCF) is a government agency. The DCF’s purpose is to address child abuse and neglect. However the intrusiveness of the government into legitimate parental care and rights has become an issue of great concern to parents across the nation. One organization founded to clarify and address the abuses by the courts and government agencies is ParentsRights.org. They have proposed a Constitutional Amendment along with their rational and resources on their site.
Presently a petition and other resource to help Justina is on their home page. You can download the petition and email it to friends and families.
Posted on the Facebook page on March 26 by The Pelletier Family the following update says,
Update: Yesterday was a terribly sad day for our family. No words can describe our pain. While praying that Judge Joseph Johnston would reunite Justina with our family, he instead made the devastating decision to award permanent custody to the State of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has never visited or investigated our home. They have never discussed plans to reunite Justina with her love ones. They do not discuss her worsening physical condition with us. We are terribly worried about Justina’s medical condition and pray that despite the legal, business and political climate that has driven this decision, someone will recognize that she urgently needs care. Because while Massachusetts has unfairly seized our child, we understand as Justina does that we are her only family. And Justina knows and understands that all of you in multiple continents will not give up until she is returned to our home in Connecticut. We are unclear on why the Judge did not execute the conditional custody agreement we were asked to sign. And we are unclear on why this decision was delivered to us by email and fax and not before those that advocated for it and made the decision. Justina is fifteen years old. In May, she will turn 16 – a time most young ladies celebrate. It is time that her voice and her preferences be heard. We urge Governor Deval Patrick to stand up for those liberties he spoke of as our country’s Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Today is a new day and all of us need to redouble our efforts to free Justina. Please go to www.freejustina.com to help. God bless you.
As Linda Pelletier writes above, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) never visited the Pelletier’s family. State auditor Suzanne Bump’s office said the DCF audit revealed several “significant management deficiencies” at the department.
A Miracle for Justina’s Facebook page has requested supporters to file complaints against the DCF and Judge Joseph Johnston listing the following contact numbers:
Gail Garringer is the Child Advocate for the state of MASS (617) 979-8360 or toll-free (866) 790-3690
Chief Justice Michael Edgerton, Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, 3 Center Plaza 7th Floor, Boston MA 02108 phone 617-788-6550
We either stand together for parents rights with cases such as Justina Pelletier or we’ll find the Left’s ideology, summarized by Mellissa Perry’s promo will prevail in our nation.
“I believe our children are not our private property,” she said. “They are not just extensions of ourselves. This isn’t about me wanting to take your kids,” she said. “This is about whether we as a society, expressing our collective will through our public institutions, including our government, have a right to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good. And that is exactly the fight that we have been having for a couple hundred years.”