|Justina, in a wheelchair|
at the state psychiatric ward
In early February, 2013, Justina's parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital with an apparent case of the flu. Contrary to their desires, they say doctors at the hospital wanted to change her treatment regimen. Those physicians believed Justina had somatoform disorder, a psychological disorder that said the symptoms she experienced were all in her head. The Pelletiers, however, disagreed and believed she should continue treatment for mitochondrial disease, the disease she was diagnosed with and had been treated for by doctors at Tufts Medical Center.
When the Pelletiers went to Boston Children’s Hospital on Valentine’s Day 2013 to have their daughter discharged and taken to Tufts, they were served with a 51A form instead — one that accused them of medical abuse. Essentially, they were accused of treating their daughter medically in a way that she didn’t need, and they called the cops.
What resulted, for the Pelletiers, is the loss of custody of their daughter. Justina was placed in a state psychiatric ward for nearly a year. This January, she was transferred to a temporary residential program in Framingham while the court battles continue. Justina’s parents have only been allowed supervised visits with their daughter, which only last for one hour every week. They say her condition has deteriorated during her time at the psych ward.
|Justina, last year at ice-saking competition|
before her nightmare began
Her condition seemed to be looking up until that fateful day in February, 2013 when she came down with the flu. Her doctor, Mark Korson, recommended that the family take the girl to a colleague at Boston Children’s Hospital. Justina was taken by ambulance to Boston Children’s, where a young emergency room doctor told the family that he “didn’t believe” in mitochondrial disease. A medical team at the hospital came up with a new treatment plan, which Lou Pelletier says was created without input from doctors from Tufts.
When the family refused to sign this new plan, and attempted to check Justina out of Boston Children's, that's when their legal nightmare began. The State took custody of their child, and they are fighting to get her back.
After the family went to local media with their plight, Judge Joseph Johnston put a gag order on all parties involved in the hearings. But earlier this week, Lou Pelletier, made a bold decision to break that gag order, by appearing on TheBlaze. "She is going off a cliff," Lou 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. She is pretty much paralyzed below the hips."
As of yesterday, the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families has filed contempt of court charges against Lou Pelletier. When asked if he regrets talking with the media, Pelletier said, “we’re all in” at this point. "We are David, not against Goliath, but against two Goliaths— Boston Children's Hospital and the State of Massachusetts. To me it's a hopeless cause, and the only way to win is in the court of public opinion. I need to save my daughter. If we don't do something, she is going to die."
For an entire year now, the Pelletiers have fought to have Justina transferred to Tufts for treatment. She has been able to sneak notes out to her parents, in which she writes that she is in extreme pain. Can you imagine what that does to a parent's soul? “I have a right as a U.S. citizen to take my daughter to what doctor I want to, and it’s been taken away,” Linda Pelletier said. Her husband adds, " There are people with the power to stop this now ... the governor of both states, the attorney generals, the DCF commissioners all have the power, executive authority, to stop this. The system has failed. I am battling the medical world that thinks it knows everything."
Unfortunately, I don't believe the Pelletier family's legal battles will be the first for Americans. As our medical care is increasingly being dictated by the State, we can expect that medical decisions will not be our own. Life, which is precious in God's sight, will be controlled by costs, bureaucracy, and a system that is soulless. Welcome to the New World Order!
Comment: Since Lou Pelletier defied the gag order, and spoke directly to national media outlet, TheBlaze, citizens have been outraged over this family's nightmare. Naturally, their legal fees have bankrupted the family, and donations can be made at freejustina.com.
Psalm 82:3-4 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.