The Shocking Truth About Justina Pelletier’s 16-Month Nightmare

Barb Wire

Thronged by reporters, supporters, family, and friends, Justina Pelletier returned home Wednesday.

Justina’s father, Lou Pelletier, said, “It’s an unbelievably emotional day… I’m still shellshocked. It has been 16 months of torture, but finally justice is being done.”

Yet, the joy of Justina’s homecoming is dampened by a harsh reality. This young women has endured a torturous ordeal forced upon her by a powerful state agency that has left her physically and emotionally handicapped.

The shocking truth about Justina’s ordeal. 

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Sixteen months ago while suffering from a gastrointestinal problem, Justina walked into Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) to see a specialist there, as directed by her physicians at Tufts Medical Center. Tufts is a very reputable medical facility who had been treating Justina for mitochondrial disease, a very rare condition.

After a brief examination of Justina, BCH performed an egregious “parent-ectomy” and forcibly removed Justina from her parents. They cited the Pelletiers for “medical child abuse” because they were following Tuft’s recommended treatments following their physicians’ diagnosis.

Representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and State Police were called in. Justina was kidnapped and held captive as a “ward of the state.”

In her months of captivity, Justina Pelletier was outrageously and inexcusably treated far worse than an incarcerated felon by the State of Massachusetts.

To literally add insult to injury, and as most don’t know, Boston Children’s Hospital is a chartered teaching hospital and is allowed to conduct medical research and experimentation on children who are declared wards of the state. BCH “treated” Justina psychiatrically for what they deemed to be a mental disorder.

In her sixteen months of imprisonment and under the mismanaged “care” of BCH, Justina Pelletier’s health deteriorated from being a vibrant figure skater to being confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk on her own. Lou Pelletier says said Justina now has “no feeling at all below her hips.”

Lou Pelletier told MailOnline that he will not mince words now that he is no longer gagged and Justina is home.

“I am still very angry at the psychiatrists, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Department of Families and Children for putting Justina through this. My daughter was used as a lab rat, a cruel experiment.

“They tried to gag me, to prevent me from telling what was going on. Can you imagine what would have happened to Justina if I hadn’t gone public?

Her condition has deteriorated terribly since she was taken from us. She’s no longer doing jumping jacks and ice skating, she is paralyzed.”

Parents, if you were in the Pelletier’s shoes, you would doubtless wage an aggressive legal fight to obtain justice.  That’s exactly what I and Liberty Counsel did, and that’s exactly what we’re going to continue to do on the Pelletier family’s behalf.

This case has opened our eyes to a much larger problem of government agencies overreaching across the nation. Parental rights are being violated like never before.

And we intend to do something about it.

Liberty Counsel will soon announce a strategic initiative to confront this alarming issue.

Today, the Pelletiers are thankful. Tomorrow will bring a whole new set of challenges. 

Lou Pelletier says right now, Justina “needs time to adjust to being home and I think she wants that to be low key. We need to help her back to health. She has been sleep deprived – forced to get up at 7am every morning and not takes the naps she needs – and I think she just wants to settle back into her bedroom.”

Thankfully, Justina is once again in the very capable hands of Dr. Korson and his staff at Tufts Medical Center.

Lou told his hometown newspaper, The Hartford Courant that Dr. Korson is ‘optimistic’ that Justina will return to normal with further treatment and physical therapy.

“It’s going to be a transition from couch, to the room, to the bathroom and so forth… we have a whole new battle now.”

While she has “a long way to go,” Mr. Pelletier said, “we’re going to do everything that’s humanly possible to get Justina back where she was. She was a very active girl, and now as you saw me picking her up, she’s going to have a long way to go before she’s ice skating again,” he said. “But you know what? She will ice skate again.”

We cannot allow this scenario to happen to other families in our nation. This is an alarming trend: Parental rights are increasingly under siege. We cannot allow this disenfranchisement to continue without a fight.

The rights of parents are being summarily dismissed and trampled from coast-to-coast. This must stop.

And we must stop it.

(This may well be one of the busiest seasons of Liberty Counsel’s 25 year history as we work through the avalanche of requests for legal representation that we have already received.
I pray that you will give as generously as possible on behalf of the Pelletiers and the many families who are mired in similar circumstances. Please go here to give a special gift.)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Mathew D. Staver
Mathew D. Staver is Chairman and Founder of Liberty Counsel®, an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. With offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and an outreach in Israel, Liberty Counsel has hundreds of advocates around the world.

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