Victory and Wake Up Call: Justina Pelletier Gets to Go Home

Written by Suzanne Olden on June 18, 2014

Hopefully the final chapter in the saga of an epically overstepping governmental entity, the Pelletier family finally gets to be whole again. Justina is going home! The same judge that grabbed her from her parents for no reason other than they refused to kowtow to “those who know better” has finally signed an order returning her to her parents after 16 months of sticking their nose where it never belonged in the first place.

If you hadn’t heard about Justina before, she is a 16 year old that suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease that affects how the cells in her body produce energy. It causes issues with the gut, brain, muscles, and heart. She was diagnosed at Tufts Medical Center and had been under the care of Dr. Mark Korson, chief of metabolism at Tufts. In February of 2013 Justina got the flu and had to be taken to the hospital. They went to Boston Children’s Hospital’s emergency room because Justina’s Tufts gastroenterologist had recently moved there. BCH was told by Justina’s mom Linda that she had this disorder, where she was diagnosed and who was treating her and how. BCH decided it wasn’t the rare disorder, but somatoform, a psychiatric disorder and took her off all of the treatments that Tufts had put in place… without the involvement or examination by her regular doctor, or by Dr. Korson. When her parents tried to discharge Justina to take her to Tufts, BCH called in state and reported them as medical child abusers.

Justina was put in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and was moved to a psychiatric unit at BHC. Her parents were then taken to court to determine if they should lose permanent custody. In January of this year they had custody permanently taken from them. Only because the parents refused to sit by quietly and take it was she ever returned to them. They broke court orders mandating that they not speak to the media and took their fight to the Governor of Massachusetts. Did I mention they weren’t even Massachusetts residents? They live in Connecticut. At the end of it all, the only reason the judge gave for giving her back? She didn’t improve over the 16 months they had her. Guess her doctor and parents were right!

This is just one of thousands of stories of government entities with too much power over the lives of its citizens. Other parents are threatened with the same thing – loss of their parental rights – if they don’t do exactly what the state deems right. Yes, there are hundreds of thousands of cases where the parents are absolutely wrong: abusive or worse. But there are more and more each year where caring, good parents are subject to this kind of treatment because the powers that be don’t agree with the parents’ politics or religion, or they are just uneducated and won’t admit they don’t know what they are talking about, and they step in and wreak havoc. Proof of this here? Justina’s sister has the same disorder. She was never taken from her parents.

How many good parents are subjected to this because they are strong advocates for their children and challenge those who want to harm their kids? In Justina’s case, a social worker and non-specialist medical staff decided that a diagnosis by an expert in the field was wrong. They didn’t even bother to talk with him to find out about it. They got ticked off because her parents tried to do what was best for their daughter, get her back to the doctor who knew how to treat her, and the egotists took matters into their own hands. They grabbed her, dispensed with her parents, and put her life and health at serious risk. And they were WRONG!

I wonder how many children in Boston were left with actual abusive parents, who died in their care, while these idiots demonized the Pelletier parents? How many millions were spent by the state treating a non-existent psychiatric disorder, in a hospital, while harming the child? How many more were spent on the unnecessary court proceedings? If I was a taxpayer in Massachusetts I’d demand answers to all of those questions.

This whole situation was a failure of epic proportions. Doctors did harm. The state sanctioned it. Now parents everywhere must second guess if they should be vocal and strong advocates for their children. Because chances are, if they are they will have something like this happen. Disgusting!

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Suzanne Reisig Olden is a Catholic Christian, Conservative, married mother of two, who loves God, family and country in that order. She lives northwest of Baltimore, in Carroll County, Maryland. She graduated from Villa Julie College/Stevenson University with a BS in Paralegal Studies and works as a paralegal for a franchise company, specializing in franchise law and intellectual property. Originally from Baltimore, and after many moves, she came home to raise her son and daughter, now high school and college aged, in her home state. Suzanne also writes for The Firebreathing Conservative website ( and hopes you'll come visit there as well for even more discussion of conservative issues.