Judge Orders Girl at Center of Medical Drama Be Allowed Home

Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 06:27 AM

By Elliot Jager

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A juvenile court judge in Boston has ordered a 16 year-old Connecticut girl at the center of a "medical child abuse case" reunited with her parents, Fox News reported.

Lou and Linda Pelletier, of West Hartford, Connecticut, had rushed their daughter, Justina, in February 2013, to Children's Hospital in Boston for treatment of a metabolic disease.

She had problems walking and swallowing. They said they chose the hospital because her gastroenterologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston had moved to Children's Hospital, The Boston Globe reported.

Physicians at Children's Hospital diagnosed her as suffering from a psychiatric ailment.

Her parents refused to accept the judgment, insisting that she be seen by her old gastroenterologist for the mitochondrial disease diagnosed at Tufts. Failing that, they wanted her discharged. The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families then intervened on behalf of Children's Hospital, blocking the girl's release into the custody of her parents, Fox reported.

In recent months, she had been living at a Massachusetts residential facility. The youngster's perplexing medical condition left the former figure skater confined to a wheelchair. She lost two years of school.

Christian conservatives and others became involved. The family was represented by Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel. He said the Pelletiers now look "forward to putting this 16-month nightmare behind them. Justina and her family now begin the process of healing both physically, emotionally, and spiritually," Staver said in a statement.

In his June 17 ruling returning the girl to her parents Judge Joseph Johnston said the family's situation had changed for the better since he gave child-protection authorities custody over Justina.

In that earlier ruling, the judge indicated he agreed that Justina suffers from a psychiatric problem. He took the Pelletiers to task for verbally abusing Massachusetts social welfare workers and for refusing to cooperate with authorities. He also criticized Connecticut's child welfare agency for its earlier inaction.

Justina said she was happy and excited to be heading home. "It's such big news," the Globe reported.

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