The long, controversial medical custody battle over 16-year-old Justina Pelletier may finally be coming to a close. Nearly a year and a half ago, Justina was taken away from her parents under accusations of medical child abuse after physicians at two highly reputable Boston hospitals disagreed on her diagnosis.
Back in 2010, doctors at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center diagnosed Justina with mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder affecting cellular energy production. She was treated at Tufts until February 2013 when she came down with the flu. Justina’s parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, were then recommended by Tufts to visit Boston Children’s Hospital.
On February 10, 2013, a group of doctors at the children’s hospital claimed that Justina did not, in fact, have mitochondrial disease. Instead, they diagnosed her with mental illness. When Lou and Linda attempted to take Justina back to Tufts, Boston Children’s Hospital called the police and alleged that Justina was being forced by her parents into treatment she did not need, for a condition she didn’t have.
Justina was placed in a Massachusetts state psychiatric ward for nearly a year, during which time her parents were only allowed to visit for one hour each week. She was then moved to a Department of Children & Family’s (DCF) group home in Framingham, CT followed by a foster home in Merrimac, MA. During her time away, Justina has received no education and her health has progressively worsened.
Lou Pelletier defied a court imposed gag order and went public with his story in attempt to save his dying daughter. The Massachusetts Department of Children & Families has filed a motion agreeing that Justina return home to her family.
This is the same department that sided with the Boston’s Children’s Hospital a year ago, accusing the Pelletiers of child abuse for simply following doctors’ orders.
Fox News reports:
Attorneys representing Justina filed a subsequent motion Tuesday requesting that Johnston expedite a ruling "because all parties are in agreement," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which represents the Pelletier family.
According to sources close to the case, Johnston issued a June 13 deadline for all paperwork to be filed and indicated a ruling will be made on or before June 20.
It is now up to a Massachusetts judge to decide whether Justina goes home to her family. Lou Pelletier said he’s learned not to get his hopes up but also acknowledges that they may be very close to getting their daughter home. This could be the best Father’s Day gift of his life.
Justina has posted a video of her own appeal to the judge, Megyn Kelly explains:
Protestors have gathered at the Boston courthouse: