parental authority

Hospital Room

Hi there,
This post was written by my colleagues Elizabeth Crowley and Lisa Cukier. A special congratulations to Elizabeth on her recent election to partner at Burns & Levinson!

Can you imagine bringing your child to an esteemed children’s hospital for care and medical treatment, only to have your child taken away from you and placed into state custody? Well, that was and is the reality of Justina Pelletier’s parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier of Connecticut.

The Pelletiers have been fighting for a year for their daughter, Justina, who they say suffers from mitochondrial disease (a rare genetic disorder with physical symptoms that can affect the entire body). First Justina was treated at Tufts Medical Center, then she was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital. Doctors at Tuft’s Medical Center diagnosed her with mitochondrial disorder, but doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital say Justina’s symptoms were psychosomatic and did not result from mitochondrial disease.

Since the Pelletiers agreed with the diagnosis given by Tufts, they asked Children’s Hospital to treat their daughter medically. When Children’s refused, proposing psychiatric treatment instead, the Pelletiers advocated for their 15-year-old daughter as any loving parents would do. Instead of respecting their … Keep reading