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Boston hospital holds teenager against her will
December 13, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Here's a custody case that ought to raise some eyebrows.
Justina Pelletier, age 15, has been held in the psychiatric ward at Boston's Children's Hospital against her will for 10 months because doctors there claim she has a mental illness.
Her parents say she has been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease and was under treatment for it while under their care. She was admitted to Boston Children's Hospital following a bout with the flu last winter and, at that point, doctors decided she had a mental illness called somataform disorder instead. Essentially, they decided the pain was all in the girl's head. The Daily Mail had the most complete story about the case. It can be found at www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513257/Shock-decline-Justina-Pelletier-kidnapped-doctors-use-guinea-pig.html
There's a gag order in the case, but previous stories said the girl is allowed only very brief hour-long visits with family members at the hospital once a week and two monitored phone calls each week. Her physical condition has deteriorated so that she is no longer able to walk unassisted. Before she was admitted to the hospital, she competed in ice skating competitions and attended high school. Unless there's more to this story than is being reported, this is an egregious violation of this girl's rights, not to mention her parents' right to make medical decisions on her behalf and raise her as they see fit.
The parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, were in court today to try and regain custody of their youngest daughter from Social Services, which has placed her in the psychiatric ward. A decision is expected next week. Here's hoping the judge does the right thing and sends this kid home and that the parents then sue the doctors responsible for this travesty of justice for everything they're worth.
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