Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boston Children's Hospital to be Investigated by the MA Department of Public Health Over the Justina Pelletier Case

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is set to investigate a complaint filed by a Boston Attorney against Boston Children’s Hospital and its “Bader 5″ Psychiatric Unit.

According to a January 31 posting by reporter Beau Berman – who broke the story leading to the complaint – the Department of Public Health has confirmed that it is assigning an investigator to review the complaint.

For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the case, in February 2013, 15-year-old Justina Pelletier was checked into Boston Children’s Hospital with flu-like symptoms by her parents. Prior to her admission, Justina had been undergoing treatments for Mitochondrial Disorder at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Over three years ago, Justina had been diagnosed with the rare genetic condition of Mitochondrial Disease. Her 25-year-old sister, Jessica, also suffers from the disease. Both girls were treated by a specialist at Tufts Medical Center, Dr Mark Korson. The hospital was only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from their home in West Hartford, Connecticut.

At the recommendation of her doctor at Tufts Medical Center, Justina was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital to see a gastro-intestinal specialist, Dr. Alex Flores, who had recently transferred from Tufts to BCH.

Almost immediately, a different team of doctors swept in. delivering a different diagnosis, questioning the original diagnosis of mitochondrial disease, explains Beau Berman, Investigative Reporter with FOX News in Connecticut.

The Hartford-Courant explains what happened next:
*Within 24 hours of being admitted to Boston Children’s in February, physicians came up with a different diagnosis for Justina: somatoform disorder, a psychologically induced condition that has physical symptoms.
*Justina’s parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier, objected to the diagnosis and sought to discharge her from the hospital and take her to Tufts Medical Center, where she was originally diagnosed with mitochondrial disease.
*But hospital officials refused and reported suspicions of medical child abuse to the state in February, according to a source familiar with the situation and media reports. Shortly afterward, the state assumed custody of Justina.


  1. You know, this is a really simple situation that should have been dealt with a year ago.

    You don't diagnose a psychiatric disorder until you've ruled out all possible physical causes.

    A psychiatrist isn't an expert in physical causes, and should have deferred to the experts.

    Doctors disagree about diagnoses all the time.

    The PARENTS have the right to make these calls, not the doctors. The doctors are there to provide advice and service. They overstepped their bounds, and caused untold harm with their stubborn egotism. They should be disciplined in a way that makes it impossible to mistreat another family like this.

    As far as CPS is concerned, shame on them. At the outset of their involvement, the push wasn't to return this child home, but to transfer her back to Tufts.

    Is Mass. CPS really claiming that it's child abuse or neglect to return a child to another licensed hospital that had already treated the child?

    Why wasn't she just sent back to Tufts, with all of the information about the differential diagnoses, in the first place?

    The fact that everybody backed off here as soon as the story hit the newspapers means they knew all along that what they were doing was wrong. They just kept on going because they thought they'd get away with it.

    1. Thank you for your succinct summary, Anonymous! I wish I could repost this!

    2. I really think it is a case of a power tripping doctor who was jealous of the new GI doctor's transfer from her hospital and knew for some reason he would get away with doing this as evidenced by how long this has dragged on.This is how far a person with no conscience conducts back-biting. They need to start getting these real psychopaths out of the hospitals and out of CPS ! There are a lot of psychopaths out there who are getting a kick out of this families suffering. There are too many of these type people in the world and especially the US. Look at how much Obama gets to lie and all of our "leaders". Why are people surprised ? Our system is corrupt and evil to the core.

  2. The new team of doctors should be held accountable. Not only them, though, but the hospital that put their muscle behind them.

    I agree with everything you're saying here Anonymous.

  3. God help all us all if these doctors and social workers are allowed to get by with this! When 'medical experts' disagree, why should the patient, and her family, be penalized for choosing to believe one expert over another??

  4. Look how slow the wheels of justice turn.

  5. There is no evidence whatsoever that somatoform disorder exists anywhere outside the minds of the psychiatrists who invented it.

  6. Many diseases they would like to say are in people's heads. Instead of focusing on research to help the children and adults suffering the answer is to say it is somatoform.
    Remember, it is announced all the time that doctors thought one thing and years later they find out the research and hunches were wrong,

    A Prayer for Justina and her family. Partners is doing more than people realize and it is not just to children. Hopefully it will be all uncovered because of this case. This young girl needs to be with her family.

  7. It is important to note that Justina is not the first child that Boston Children's and DCF imprisoned in Bader 5 psych ward. Look up Elizabeth Wray who was taken in 2012 when Boston Children's said her New York doctors were wrong - and that her problem was mental illness. Her parents were also placed under a gag order by the Mass. courts and had a long fight to free her.