Sick CT Teen Placed in Foster Care As Parents Continue to Fight For Custody
A bizarre custody case is pitting doctors against doctors and a family against the state of Massachusetts.
Justina Pelletier, 15, has been transferred to DCF foster care following the latest hearing in a custody battle between her parents and the state. Upon hearing yesterday that she would remain in Massachusetts state custody, her father cried out and her mother fainted.
The battle began last February, when Justina was rushed to Boston Children’s Hospital with what her parents believed to be a severe case of the flu. Prior to that, she had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by doctors at Tufts Medical Center, an illness that her sister, Jessica, also suffers from.
But when Justina arrived at Boston Children’s Hospital, doctors there threw out that diagnosis and told her parents that the teen has somatoform disorder, a psychological condition. They said her symptoms are psychologically induced.
When Justina’s parents questioned the diagnosis and attempted to take their daughter back to her doctors at Tufts, Boston Children’s Hospital argued medical child abuse. The teen was then taken into state custody.
Lou says his daughter was getting better at Tufts. Under state care, he says she is “rotting away.” She is constantly tired, has severe stomach problems and is now confined to a wheelchair.
The doctors at Tufts stand by their original diagnosis.
Justina’s sister, Jennifer, spoke with Shepard Smith today by phone to discuss the case.
“She was doing great before [at Tufts] and now she’s in a wheelchair, and she’s getting weaker and weaker,” Jennifer said.
When asked how this could happen, Jennifer said, “Honestly, I don’t understand how anybody can do this because I thought doctors are there to help and not make somebody actually worse.”
Former prosecutor Wendy Murphy told Smith that she, too, is perplexed by the case. Murphy said that the hospital and social workers can’t tell their sides of the story due to confidentiality rules that inhibit them from speaking about the case.
“So my concern is that there is more to the story, that there is a huge mental health problem. I mean this girl was in a psychiatric ward at Children’s Hospital for a long, long time. Hospitals don’t just keep kids in psych wards for no reason. We have to believe there are good people behind the scenes, concerned about more than what we’re being told,” Murphy said.
Jennifer told Smith that her sister has been without education for a full year and has been asking for it. She said that the teen was ice skating just a year ago and now has no use of her legs.
Justina’s father Lou Pelletier and Personhood USA Founder Keith Mason were on “The Kelly File” tonight to discuss the case. Watch Parts 1 and 2 below.