When Justina Pelletier became ill with flu-like symptoms in February of last year, her doctors at Tufts Medical, who had been treating her for what they diagnosed as Mitochondrial Disease, recommended that her parents take her to Boston Children’s Hospital to see a gastrointestinal specialist who had recently transferred to BCH from Tufts.  She never got to see Dr. Flores; BCH over-rode her current doctor’s recommendation and course of treatment and diagnosed her with somatoform disorder.  Within days, she was locked away in the hospital’s psych ward and the state took custody away from her parents.  Exactly why, we may never know for sure.  Even though the gag order against her parents has been lifted, she still remains in the custody of the state and we’re only hearing the parent’s side of the story.  The assumption is of course, that they were committing child abuse by over-medicalizing her.  Some blogs have her parent’s doctor shopping.  I wonder.  If you’re a renowned doctor at a renowned facility, why the hell would you be party to doctor shopping?  A question that will probably never be answered if even asked.

Working for the BCH?

Working for the BCH?

Now it appears that a juvenile court judge has ruled that BCH was full of crap.  Oh of course, it will never be portrayed that way.  Too simplistic. However, the judge approved a plan to transfer her medical care back to Tufts.  What does the judge know that we’re not being told, about both the DCF and Boston’s Children’s?

Let the back-peddling begin. The DCF took custody of Justina last year.  They stressed that that decision was made after court hearings and Connecticut officials supported the neglect allegations.  Surely the charges at that time must have included or at least taken into consideration that the family was following the care regimen of the doctors at Tufts; was Tufts even involved in the decision which only took four days after she was admitted to BCH? Can a team of doctors at one facility be guilty of this crime just because another team of doctors disagrees with their diagnosis? Just recently however, the DCF dropped its contempt of court complaints against the Pelletiers who have been speaking out in defiance of a court imposed gag order.  It appears that the DCF and BCH were, at the very least, overzealous in their pursuit of the Pelletiers, even to the detriment of Justina.  And at this point, it’s “oh, never mind.”  Apparently, Emily Litella is the new spokesman for BCH.

Let’s leave the dysfunctional DCF out of this for a moment.  Why would BCH do this to a family?  If the allegations against the parents are true, BCH then must call into question the ethics of the Tufts medical team; after all, Tufts diagnosed Justina, and her older sister. Tufts proscribed the treatments.  Tufts made the recommendation for her to be seen by a pediatric GI specialist at BCH.  Is following the advice of your doctor and sending your child to BCH an indication of medical abuse?  How so? Or does BCH have a severe conflict of interest here? How deeply is BCH and Harvard Medical school invested in their psychiatric research programs?  BCH appears to aggressively pursue these types of cases.  They work very closely with the DCF to prepare their cases for the courts and subsequently, patients are routinely admitted in the ward at BCH.

Unfortunately, given the size of BCH, its financial clout, the reverence and importance it enjoys in the medical community of Boston, not to mention its rather cozy relationship with the horrid DCF, we may never get a peek at just what went on under the sheets here.  After Justina spent over a year away from her parents, missing holidays, limited to weekly one hour face-to-face visits, her health going from poor to worse, the infallible machines of one of the state’s most prestigious medical entities and the untouchable but dysfunctional child protective services will answer to no one.

The state was certainly willing to destroy the Pelletiers and make them accountable for harming Justina.  What price will BCH and DCF pay if they were wrong?