A final decision in the Justina Pelletier case is expected to be handed down as early as next Friday, Dec. 20, according to multiple sources.
Pelletier is a 15-year-old West Hartford girl who, her parents say, has been held hostage at the Boston Children’s Hospital for the last 10 months.
Justina, who has been diagnosed and treated by Tufts doctors for mitochondrial disorder, a rare genetic disease, was sent to Boston Children’s Hospital for a bout with the flu.
Justina’s regular doctor was unavailable at the time.
Doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital reportedly said that mitochondrial disorder does not exist and diagnosed Justina with somatoform disorder, a mental illness characterized by pain and gastrointestinal symptoms that have no identifiable physical cause.
Since that day in February, the Justina Pelletier’s parents - Linda and Lou - have seen the situation devolve as the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families took custody of the girl and limited contact with Justina to just one hour a week, with two 20-minute phone calls (which are monitored by hospital staff). Justina’s condition has also worsened.
The second of two hearings at the Suffolk Probate and Family Court took place Thursday, with no decision. Several sources confirmed that one more hearing is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 20 at 11 a.m. at which a final decision concerning Justina’s custody is expected to be rendered.
A gag order issued from the bench was issued on the case, so neither the Pelletiers nor Boston Children’s Hospital could comment.
According to Fox CT, Justina and her doctor from Tufts both testified at Thursday's hearing.
A rally for Justina held outside the courthouse drew about 15 supporters, according to West Hartford resident Heather Harwood, who has two children with mitochondrial disorder.
Harwood said that she was disappointed with the low turnout, which she attributed to the weather.“It is extremely cold,” Harwood said in a telephone interview. “We were out there for 7 hours. I was disappointed in the turnout. A lot of people were scared off by the cold. It was a long day with no outcome, which was frustrating.”