It has been a while since we’ve talked about the Justina Pelletier case but we first brought you the Pelletier story several months ago. There’s finally some good news to report from this story as she has finally been released and headed home.
Update: Please see here for the our past Justina Pelletier stories.

Brief History Of The Pelletier Case

Justina Pelletier is a young teenager with the diagnosis of mitochondrial disease. Over a series of literally, unfortunate events, her parents ended up at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) where doctors there challenged her daughters medical illness and within less than twenty-four hours, rediagnosed her with a psychological disorder.

Justina’s parents being as cautious as they were with this new and unfamiliar medical territory, questioned the new psychological diagnosis – one that essentially stating that the symptoms associated with mitochondrial disorder were essentially made up inside of her head. That’s when the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families took custody away from Justina’s parents and awarded custody to the state of Massachusetts. From February 2013 to June 2014 her parents were essentially barred from seeing her except for once a week, had a gag order placed upon them from speaking out, and while the battle between her parents and the state raged on, Justina’s health declined.

The state was refusing to treat her for her mitochondrial disorder because they believed her illness was psychological in nature. Her health was declining at a steady rate – enough to where she went from an active teenager to one who was wheelchair bound. A long custody battle would then ensue between the state and Justina’s parents. Things looked bleak as back in March of 2014, a judge once again awarded continued custody to the state of Massachusetts.

For more details on the Justina Pelletier case read our article here.

Justina Pelletier Goes Home

Since March of 2014 a few events have transpired. One of them being that the state of Massachusetts returned her to the original doctors who were treating her for mitochondrial disease.

On June 17th perhaps came the best news in the last sixteen month to the Pelletier family, a Massachusetts judge ordered the DCF to return custody to her parents. That ruling became a reality on June 18th as Justina was finally released to her parents.

Justina summed it up in one word: “Awesome!” as she shouted from a car on the way to her home.

The Long Road Ahead For Justina Pelletier

Unfortunately, the damage has already been done to this teenager. The physical effects are still obvious – she is still wheelchair bound thanks to the incompetency of the DCF and BCH. The months ahead include physical rehabilitation and pool therapy.

justina pelletier released

Justina Pelletier enjoying some ice cream while having her first taste of freedom in sixteen months.

What’s even worse than the physical effects are the mental effects that this teenager had to go through. She missed out on sixteen months of her life that she will never be able to get back – teenage years – some of the most important years. She missed out on memories, family time, and friends.

Almost even more important, the Justina Pelletier battle is far from over. I hope that the DCF and BCH get investigated so that this has to happen to no other parents or patients.

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1. Swidey, N., Wen, P. “Justina Pelletier Heads Home After Judge Ends State Custody.” The Boston Globe. Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. 17 June 2014. Web. 20 June 2014.
2. Howerton, J. “Judge Orders Massachusetts DCF To Return Justina Pelletier To Her Parents.” The Blaze. The Blaze Inc. 17 June 2014. Web. 20 June 2014.
3. Miller, J. “‘Awesome!’ Justina Pelletier Shouts On Way Home To Family After 16-Month Ordeal.” Fox News. Fox News Network, LLC. 18 June 2014. Web. 20 June 2014.