Boston — The parents of Justina Pelletier reacted as any decent parent would, with tears and shouts of anger after learning at a Boston courthouse today that the Department of Children and Families wants to place their teenage daughter in foster care on Boston’s North Shore, according to reports.
The media was not allowed near the court room due to the gag order that was issued by the judge in past weeks still being in place.
The judge told the parents they are not to speak of their daughters illness or the fact she has been held captive for one year by the Boston Children’s Hospital and DCF.
However, Justina’s father did break his silence. And shortly after Justina’s father, Lou Pelletier, broke his silence, the DCF immediately filed court papers requesting Lou Pelletier be held in contempt of court and arrested.
The judge involved in this case also ordered a seal on Justina’s medical records at DCF’s request. The judge said that the parents are not to have access to the medical records, but if they do the records are not to be release to the public and Justina’s condition cannot be discussed with another doctor.
The Pelletiers’ primary attorney declined comment, citing the gag order. However he did say that he has never in his career seen, nor has he ever read any case law about a judge ordering parents to remain silent about their own child’s medical treatment at the request of DCF.
Justina has a condition called mitochondrial disease. It is caused by a disruption in the cellular energy centers of our bodies, the mitochondria, and it is very difficult to diagnose. Justina’s gut stopped working a couple of years ago, a common problem for mito patients, resulting in a tube to help her digest and eliminate food. Mito patients also struggle with muscle weakness, pain, memory loss, erratic blood pressure, vision problems, hearing problems, and debilitating fatigue.
13 months ago Justina was referred to Boston Children’s Hospital by her primary doctor because she was having severe GI issues. However after looking at the child, Boston Children’s Hospital doctors felt it was all in Justina’s mind.
Justina was diagnosed with a psychiatric condition at Boston Children’s Hospital, moved to a locked psychiatric unit, and was not treated for her current illness or for the mitochondrial disease, which requires a daily regimen of supplements and dietary adjustments. She became even more sick, she was unable to eat, and even after her body weakened to the point that she became confined to a wheel chair, doctors continued to tell Justina her condition was all in her head. The doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital even refused to consult with Justina’s primary doctor.
Despite the court ruling, the family and advocates for the family plan to fight.
Ocala Post sent several e-mails to DCF in Boston as well as Boston Children’s Hospital. All replies back to Ocala Post cited the gag order.
The family has now hired the legal group Liberty Counsel. The group plans to have the gag order removed by the end of the week.