Medical Abuse Charge: Conn. Couple Fight for Custody of Daughter

By:  Dave Bohon
02/26/2014
       
Medical Abuse Charge: Conn. Couple Fight for Custody of Daughter

The state of Massachusetts has inflicted a child abuse charge on a couple over the doctor-prescribed medical treatment of their daughter.

A Connecticut couple has lost the latest legal battle in a conflict over whether they or doctors at Boston Children's Hospital (shown in photo) have the final say in the medical treatment of the couple's 15-year-old daughter, whose condition has reportedly deteriorated drastically since she was taken from her parents over a year ago by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).

On February 24 a judge ruled that the girl, Justina Pelletier, will remain in the custody of the state as the courts decide whether her parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier, are guilty of medical child abuse because of the medical treatment they had chosen for Justina, whom doctors at Boston's Tufts Medical Center had diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder.

Matt Staver of the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel, which is representing the Pelletier family, said that “the story of Justina Pelletier is like a horror movie,” recalling that before she was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital, the teen was being treated for mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder, by Dr. Mark Korson, the chief of metabolism at Tufts Medical Center.

But at Boston Children’s Hospital where the family had taken Justina for treatment, “a new doctor, in the seventh month of his internship, changed the working diagnosis from mitochondrial disease to somatoform disorder, shifting her treatment from physical to mental,” Staver recalled. “When Lou and Linda Pelletier tried to discharge their daughter and return her to care at Tufts Medical Center, DCF took Justina as a ward of the state and moved her to Bader Five, the psychiatric ward, where she remained for eleven months.”

Staver noted that today Justina Pelletier is confined to a Boston-area nonmedical treatment facility, where she suffers daily with excruciating pain, and where her health is rapidly declining. 

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