In what appears to be a major setback to the parents of a Connecticut teenager in the middle of a long-running custody dispute, a Massachusetts juvenile court judge Tuesday issued a ruling giving “permanent” custody of Justina Pelletier to the state Department of Children and Families, which then leaves it up to the agency to decide if or when she should be returned back home.
The decision by Judge Joseph Johnston came in response to a motion, presented by the 15-year-old’s court-appointed lawyer and the lawyers for her parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier of West Hartford, Conn., which called for the parents to be awarded “conditional custody” of their daughter.
The Department of Children and Families took emergency custody of the teen on Valentine’s Day 2013 after a diagnostic dispute arose between doctors at Tufts Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital over the causes of her medical problems, including difficulty eating and walking.
Tufts doctors had been treating Pelletier for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders affecting cellular energy production, but physicians at Children’s concluded that her symptoms were largely psychiatric in origin. Her parents rejected the new diagnosis, and when they tried to move the girl back to Tufts, the Children’s team notified the state that it suspected the parents of medical child abuse.
Pelletier remained at Children’s for almost a year, most of the time in a locked psychiatric ward, and meanwhile the case gained national attention.
In late January, she was moved to a residential facility in Framingham, Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, though she continues to be treated by Children’s doctors on an outpatient basis. The parties in the case finalized a plan this week.http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/03/25/permanent-custody-justina-pelletier-awarded-state-massachusetts/puyPhesGkKE6rGLid2VM2L/story.html
This makes me sick.