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West Hartford's Justina Pelletier Transfered to New Facility

Fifteen-year-old girl had been at Boston Children's Hospital for more than 11 months.

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

Justina Pelletier, the 15-year-old West Hartford girl who had been held at Boston Children’s Hospital in a custody dispute since February 2013, has been moved to a new facility, the Boston Globe reported Friday.

The Globe said that Pelletier was moved to the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network in Framingham, though she remains under the care of Boston Children’s doctors as they find another care team to take over the West Hartford teen’s case.

The move is consistent with a Jan. 10 ruling by Judge Joseph Johnston that called for Pelletier to be moved from Boston Children’s Bader 5 psychiatric unit to a new facility.

Justina, who has been diagnosed and treated by Tufts Medical Center doctors for mitochondrial disorder, a rare genetic disease, was sent to Boston Children’s Hospital for a bout with the flu last February.

Justina’s regular doctor was unavailable at the time.

Doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital reportedly disagreed with the diagnosis and instead diagnosed Pelletier with somatoform disorder, a mental illness characterized by pain and gastrointestinal symptoms that have no identifiable physical cause.

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families then took custody of Justina when the Pelletiers disagreed with Justina’s treatment.

Even with the transfer to a new facility last week, several questions loom.

It’s not clear how long Justina is to remain at the new facility, or what kind of care she will receive.

Further, the Globe reported that it is uncertain if Justina’s move to the new facility means that she will eventually be reunited with her family in West Hartford, or whether the Massachusetts DCF will continue to retain custody.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families may also get involved if and when Justina returns to her home state.
DWms Wms January 20, 2014 at 10:26 AM
Is anyone monitoring the teen's environment? Irrespective of any other issues, she shouldn't be living in a punitive-like situation. Her situation at BCH sounded as bad if not worse than being incarcerated.
Katie Higgins January 20, 2014 at 01:54 PM
She is still 'ward of the state' /DCF-- "Where there is a right there is a remedy. Where there is no remedy there is no right" Working on "remedy" here is a new web site that was put up by a group of: doctors, patients, psychiatrists, philosophers and patient advocacy groups. The "Coalition for Diagnostic Rights"- motivated by Justina's heartbreaking story--here is comment posted in Saturday Boston Globe, response to Neil Swidey's story on Justina's transfer. DiagnosticRights01/18/14 08:42 PM The court is certainly not proceeding cautiously and we don’t need further information to determine that. Caution with regard to the parental situation must be balanced against caution with regard to the medical situation – and both must be balanced against caution not to recklessly assume that when somatoform disorder is involved basic patients’ rights no longer apply. The court’s position on appropriate parental decisions is untenable – insisting good parents would have accepted the determinations of doctors at BCH, while also insisting good parents would have recognized the need to oppose the determinations of doctors at Tufts. Their position on sound parental responses to doctors’ conclusions cannot justly change depending on the diagnosis in question. How did the court reach such an incoherent position? By grossly violating basic rights. No court has the authority to adjudicate between conflicting medical opinions on behalf of a patient, or parents of a patient – not without a prior determination of dangerous parenting that does not rest on conclusions about which doctors are right. There is no question that doctors at BCH grossly violated patients’ rights at the start. Even if they were correct in concluding the parents’ decisions were a threat to the child on day one, that would not give them the authority to then make the child’s medical decisions themselves for the four days before they called in DCF. No doctor has the right to make a current patient’s medical decisions – surrogate decision makers must immediately be appointed to protect patients from medical tyranny. Patients’ rights are not optional! The court's failure to recognize that is indefensible! have a look-- will help to clear up some of the mysteries around the "silent" other side of this story! www.diagnosticrights.org Justina, WE believe in YOU!! Team Justina !
druggedchild January 21, 2014 at 09:15 PM
"""PSYCHIATRY""" VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS---The use of 2 - point and 4 - point restraints and solitary confinement (“seclusion”) on psychiatric wards is particularly alarming and dangerous. The many psychiatric prisoners and survivors I’ve talked with describe the restraints as cruel punishment or torture. The restraints consist of thick leather cuffs or straps which are tied around the prisoner’s ankles and wrists and anchored to the sides of the bed. As result, the prisoner can hardly move while being forced to lie flat on his/her back for hours at a time, sometimes days with only brief restraint - free periods. Since physically - restrained prisoners are also chemically restrained by the powerful neuroleptics or antidepressants, they are doubly - restrained. A common staff reason for restraining prisoners is “control” or “management” of allegedly uncontrollable or disruptive prisoner behavior....
MAC February 18, 2014 at 01:45 AM
Why does the CT Health Care Advocate, or Child Advocacy office, do nothing for Justina, who is close to death, according to her father?! The facility where she was moved to a month ago is NOT even a medical facility, and Justina was taken off her needed medications and is in PAIN 24/7, as explained in the video linked at the below article. Lou Pelletier, who was interviewed Monday by Glenn Beck, has broken the judicial Gag order because of the dire situation Justina is in. He is amazingly calm, for what this family has been subjected to—including financial ruin.................. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/17/ready-jon-father-so-heartbroken-about-daughter-held-at-hospital-against-his-will-he-just-defied-a-judges-order-to-talk-to-us-i-want-to-have-all-my-guns-blazing/.................................................................... Everyone who cares about Justina should call the CT and MA governors and attorney generals and demand action to save Justina’s life!
Ajack February 25, 2014 at 02:36 PM
Almost had a similar incident happen at Yale many years ago. An acquaintance 's son was also almost held against his will at Yale. Mother who was a nurse had her priest interject in the situation and finally , after evening came and his so called treating pysician , Dr. Gene ___ wnet home for the night, , a young intern called the Mom and told her to come and get her son and that he wasn't crazy and he was sick with Lyme Disease. Fast forward, this young man ended up going to Fordham University, straight A's and is now a priest. He finally got treatment for his Lyme Disease , which the so called pediatric psychiatrists there at Yale ,a so called 'Lyme Expert' , by the name of Dr. Gene ____, refused to test him for Lyme. Tested him for everything else , milk allergies, food allergies etc. NOT LYME. Mom was called and told he had been admitted to the pediatric psychiatric ward. Wasted a huge amount of time. This doctor said the young man's condition was psychiatric. Medical decisions that are wrong but part of the hospital's mantra on many diseases of a complex nature are often wrong. Hearts out to this family. Lyme Disease this could be. I've seen this happen before.

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