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March 19, 2014
When Will the Pelletier Nightmare End?
The latest hearing in the Pelletier case decided nothing. Judge Johnston of the Suffolk County Juvenile Court in Boston on Monday declared that he will decide by the end of the week on a motion by parents Lou and Linda Pelletier that their daughter Justina be returned to their care. So they continue to wait.
The Pelletier Nightmare imposed by Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) has to end sometime. But “When?” is the crucial question, especially given its negative impact on Justina’s health.
In an earlier ruling, Judge Johnston ordered that Justina’s medical care be returned to Tufts Medical Center, where doctors years ago diagnosed her with mitochondrial disease and were successfully treating its symptoms. Until that order, she was languishing under the care of Boston Children’s, who insisted her issues were not medical but psychological. Unfortunately DCF, who still have custody of Justina, have yet to return her to Tufts for treatment.
“Our goal is to get Justina home with her parents as soon as possible,” says attorney Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This case has been kicked down the road long enough. DCF has obstructed every effort to return Justina home. We will use every legal means available to end this nightmare the family has been living for the past 14 months.”
Liberty Counsel is a legal organization working with the Pelletiers’ lawyers, though Judge Johnston has not yet acknowledged Staver as an official attorney on the case. Staver’s comments are taken from a March 18 Liberty Counsel release.
Meanwhile, efforts continue in the Massachusetts legislature to pass a bill that would prevent this kind of “institutional kidnapping” from taking place in the future. One bill drafted with input from our own Michael Farris would prevent DCF from accusing a family of medical abuse for following the orders and diagnosis of their licensed medical practitioner – as DCF did in the present case. Another bill will protect parental rights in every setting as a “fundamental right” demanding “strict scrutiny” protection.
We will continue to keep you posted on the Pelletier case as we receive more information, and we will continue to work at the state level to promote good laws that protect parents from this kind of family intrusion. Thank you for standing with us in the effort!
Brief Survey Can Also Help Halt Nightmares
The Pediatric Justice Association, “a national nonprofit organization with the purpose to protect children’s rights to medical care and eliminate discrimination against children with rare or undiagnosed diseases,” is conducting a survey in conjunction with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to determine hurdles parents face in getting their child the diagnoses they need.
In light of the Pelletier case above, perhaps this study cannot come soon enough.
If you have a child under the age of 19, please take 5-10 minutes to participate in this anonymous survey.
The Pediatric Justice Association is an allied organization supporting parental rights.
Thank you for standing with us as we strive to educate and equip parents with the legal tools they need in the fight for their parental rights.
Director of Communications & Research
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