Justice for Justina: Was the State Right in Taking Her?

Justina with dogI’ve been reading and hearing about the story of Justina Pelletier for some time now.  If you don’t know who she is it’s no surprise.  Her story has never been reported in the mainstream media to my knowledge.  I first heard about her plight on the Glenn Beck Radio Program on The Blaze Radio Network.

Her story first began in February 2013 after being rushed to Boston Children’s Hospital on the advice of her physician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, when she had not been eating, was having trouble walking, presented with slurred speech, and was having trouble swallowing.

Her doctor, Dr. Korson had been treating Justina over a year for mitochondrial disease, which is a group of rare genetic disorders that impact how cells produce energy.  The symptoms that can result often are associated with the gut, brain, muscles and heart.  Dr. Korson, who had worked at Boston Children’s for 15 years, had wanted Justina to be seen by a gastrointestinal specialist, Dr. Flores, who had left Tufts to work at Boston Children’s Hospital.  So, it was suggested that Justina’s mother, Linda, transport Justina there.

justina and mom

It’s at Boston Children’s Hospital where Justina’s story began to take an odd turn.  Instead of being allowed to see the gastrointestinal specialist, the hospital informed the parents that they were taking a new course of action.  Justina had been evaluated by a psychologist shortly after arriving and determined that Justina was suffering from more of a psychiatric problem rather than a medical issue.  The psychologist, basically felt that it was the parents who were making her believe that she had a medical disease.

Justina’s parents were then told that she would be taken off of some of her medications and that a young neurologist, Dr. Peters, who had completed his medical training just seven months before joining Boston Children’s Hospital, would be taking the lead in her case.  Justina’s mother opened up to the neurologist and told him about the symptoms that Justina had experienced just weeks earlier.  Linda, Justina’s mother had also explained that Justina’s older sister had been diagnosed with the same affliction (mitochondrial disease) which is not uncommon for this disease to be found in a sibling.

The mother went on to explain that she had been seeing Dr. Korson at Tufts and that he had given Justina the mitochondrial diagnosis.  Dr. Peters disagreed with Dr. Korson’s diagnosis.  Dr. Peters wrote in the medical charts that he was concerned with the number of doctors that Justina had seen and the amount of invasive treatments that had been previously performed on Justina by her past doctors.  Doctors had removed Justina’s appendix and a long congenital band that they had found wrapped around her colon. Later on, following several colonoscopies, doctors had placed a permanent tube in her colon which would force a flushing of her system in the event of long-term constipation.

It was also felt by Boston Hospital that Justina’s mother had been “difficult” with some of Justina’s physicians in the past and that Justina had been taken to a number of doctor’s (doctor shopping).

When Justina’s parents would not comply with Boston Children’s new treatment plan and wanted to remove their daughter from the hospital so that she could be taken back to Tufts Medical Center, they learned that the State (Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts) had been contacted by Dr. Newton, who ran the hospital’s Children’s protection team at Boston Children’s Hospital. 

Dr. Newton

Dr. Newton reported that she was troubled by a number of things as follows:

Namely, how the mother had demanded that Justina be given a feeding tube upon arrival (because she had not eaten for a period of time) when the hospital believed that she should be given an opportunity to try and eat on her own. 

Dr. Newton was also concerned with how Justina seemed more impaired when her mother was with her and also concerned by the number of hospitals that Justina had been seen at and the “complaints about their (the parents’) difficult personalities. 

Finally, Dr. Newton noted the number of medical surgeries she had received and indicated that the tube that had been permanently implanted was “severe and unnecessary.”

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has to date, prevented Justina from being removed from Boston Children’s Hospital once the hospital contacted them and made allegations of “medical child abuse.”

Other parents whose children were given the diagnosis of mitochondrial have also complained about similar incidents Boston Children’s reporting them to the Dept. of Children and Families.

On April 9, 2013, Justina was moved to a private room in the hospital’s psychiatric ward in the hospital.  She protested the move and even asked to see an attorney but was denied one.

I must say as a licensed psychotherapist and as a citizen of the United States, I am disturbed by many facts about Justina’s story.

First and foremost, what stands out in my mind is how this child was taken by the State from her parents for a prolonged period of time when she was clearly receiving medical care from a licensed physician.  What also seems clear is that her parents were following the doctor’s medical treatment plan and even took their daughter to Boston Children’s at his direction.  Yet, a hospital that had just begun treating her, apparently discounted all of the past doctors’ diagnoses and rendered her a victim of “medical abuse” by her parents.

Secondly, Boston Children’s Hospital is essentially accusing Justina’s past physicians of medical malpractice.  Logically, they are claiming that had the doctors not been incompetent then Justina would not have received the operations she received.  As a result, Dr. Newton at Boston Children’s has thrown Dr. Korson, a former Boston Children’s doctor, under the bus.

Thirdly, the psychologist, it appears made a diagnosis after only spending a short period of time with Justina.  A preliminary diagnosis is not uncommon.  However, because of the severe steps taken in removing Justina from her parents’ care, I would want to know if Dr. Korson or other past doctors were contacted, whether Justina’s past medical care/diagnoses were discussed between the psychologist and Justina’s doctors, and whether her doctors noted any behaviors by the parents that could have been considered a detriment to Justina’s mental or medical well-being.

Finally, why didn’t Boston Children’s Hospital release Justina to her parents’ custody after contacting the Department of Children and Families?  Would she have been in any danger medically if she had been released to her family?  She was under the care of a physician and the parents were apparently complying with her doctor’s orders. family of pelletier

Was she being psychologically abused? It was noted by the hospital that Justina’s parents were referred to a mental health provider in the past but Justina was not taken.  The Dept. of Children and Families would have had the authority to visit Justina and even remove her from the home at a later time if they determined that she was in any danger, either physically or mentally.

The lingering question on my mind is whether Boston Children’s Hospital is receiving any governmental funds for keeping Justina based on a removal order from a state run child protective service?

Today, on the Glenn Beck Program on TheBlazeTV, Justina’s father, Lou Pelletier, who is under a court gag order not to speak about Justina’s case, decided to speak out because he feels that “his daughter is dying.”

Lou is also claiming now that the psychological team at the hospital is abusing Justina by denying her proper medical treatment that the Pelletiers feel she needs.  Mr. Pelletier spoke about how his daughter’s condition is rapidly deteriorating before his eyes.

Mr. Pelletier also indicated that the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has never visited Justina’s home.  Perhaps this is because there are no other minor children living in the home to give them a reason for a visit.  However, wouldn’t it behoove them to look around for evidence to substantiate Boston Children’s Hospital’s allegations?  They may not find anything but they could at least look.

Glenn Beck asked how people could help Justina’s cause.  Lou suggested contacting the Governors of both Connecticut (presumably where the family resides) and Massachusetts and the Attorney Generals of both states, all of whom have the authority to intervene.  He also mentioned contacting President Obama because he has daughters himself.  However, I believe Mr. Pelletier knew that it wasn’t a viable option when he made the statement but rather a frustrated attempt at receiving any help at this point.

If you would like to donate to help Justina, because the Pelletiers are “broke,” according to Mr. Pelletier, you can donate to their 501 (c) (3) non-profit website at www.freejustina.com.

It would be easy to ignore this case because it isn’t happening to you.  However, if you have children know that the next article could be about you and your children.  Please research this case on your own and take a Stand For the Truth!

Note:  Susan Knowles is an author, psychotherapist and former practicing attorney.  Her latest book, a politicalFreedom's Fight fiction, is entitled, “Freedom’s Fight: A Call to Remember” available on Amazon.com.    Her website is www.susanknowles.com.

The article appearing on this site is the property of Susan J. Knowles. It is protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and is not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Susan J. Knowles. Copyright 2014 Susan J. Knowles All Rights Reserved. 

References and Photos:



8 thoughts on “Justice for Justina: Was the State Right in Taking Her?

  1. Without question some doctors have been trained to just automatically diagnose psychosomatic illness when they don’t understand a given medical condition and the hospital now treating her may also have financial incentives for a certain diagnosis. There can be no assurance that either diagnosis is correct. But since qualified physicians are very far apart on the correct diagnosis, the family should not be forced against their will to go with the psychosomatic ailment diagnosis. This situation has been handled very poorly by both
    law enforcement and the judge. The family should be allowed to go with the doctors they believe are most likely correct and hope for the best outcome.

  2. Pingback: Department of Children and Families: #FREEJUSTINA | STAND FOR THE TRUTH

  3. Sue Children’s services. How dare they, DHS is the ones abusing Justinia. She wasn’t in a wheel chair when she was with her parents.now in care of DHS she’s in a wheel chair and losing her hair. They need to order an outside to come in and get UA testing and blood test on Justinia. Something is seriously wrong and Corrupt with this justice system.

  4. God Bless Justina and family!! You are in our prayers and thoughts. We are fighting for the return of you’re daughter Justina. They kidnapped you’re daughter wrongfully and falsely. How dare they do this to you’re child. They are the ones abusing Justina. You have us and so so many more on your side.
    Don’t give up! Post the letter where Justina, gave you Dad where their Torturing her. They may very well be torturing You’re daughter!

  5. Reblogged this on YouViewed/Editorial and commented:
    This is , hands down , the best , most complete telling of the Pelletier’s battle with the State over their right to raise their daughter that we have seen to date . Ms Knowles is to be commended for her efforts and this article needs to be distributed far and wide .

  6. Justina needs to be sent home. Why were psych doctors even waiting for her in the ER in the first place. Psych doctors are the ones that the attending or ER doctor calls in. I don’t think you would expect psych doctors to be in a running ER. That is for medical doctors that deal with emergencies. Then if necessary others are called in and then an evaluation is done. It feels like a set up from the beginning. Justina didn’t even get to see the doctor she was sent to see and who had treated her in the past at Tuffs before he went to Children’s. He was actually blocked from seeing her. The control had been taken from this family from the very beginning, before DCR was even called. Then the judge has a hearing and the family attorney is denied to even be present at the hearing. With the judges gag order in place the family has no one to say what all went on but the DCF places blame on them for their understandable reaction to having their daughter taken away and their refusal to swallow the “bunk” they are told they will have to follow even when they go home to a different state? How crazy is that !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s