Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reflections on Misconduct in the Justina Pelletier Affair

Judge Joseph F. Johnston's Pelletier Family Gag Order

In a rare display of contempt, Lou and Linda Pelletier Justina's parents, chose to breach Judge Johnston's gag order and publicize that their daughter Justina had been imprisoned in Boston Children's Hospital for months. This was a perilous decision because exposure of confidential court matters can lead to prison and or fines.

The precipitate for judicial intervention was an allegation of medical child abuse. This charge was not levied against Justina's former medical providers but against her parents. The term, medical child abuse, is a contradiction.

Boston Children's Hospital Benefits from Medical Child Abuse Allegations

Justina Pelletier became a ward of the state in the now cause célèbre diagnostic dispute between Boston Children's Hospital and Tufts Medical. As reported by the The Globe Justina is one of six minors whose parents were charged with medical child abuse while their children were receiving care at Boston Children's Hospital in the past eighteen months. These accusations are a conflict of interest because the abuse complainant, if successful, keeps the child and receives remunerations for their efforts.

Justina's Boston Children's Hospital incarceration, most of which was in a psychiatric ward, lasted from February 2013 through December 2013. Costs are not revealed. After the December 2013 Boston Globe revelatory articles Judge Johnston ordered that Justina be transferred to an out patient psychiatric facility. Under Judge Johnson's direction, Justina was moved again in May.

There has been no explanation or follow-up investigation as to why Dr. Alice Newton , director of Boston Children's Hospital's child protection team and Judge Joseph Johnston , the presiding arbitrator, subjected Justina to these punitive environments and other harsh measures. Justina posed no risk to herself or others because she was incapacitated at her time of admit and remains in the same condition.

Doctor Alice Newton and Judge Joseph Johnston's Conduct in the Justina Pelletier Case

If the circumstances of the case had been presented to a jury it is unlikely that they would have allowed the state to take custody of Justina Pelletier.

A review of the Justina Pelletier case suggests misconduct on both the part of Dr. Alice Newton and Judge Johnston. Within a three day period Dr. Newton and her staff were able to determine that Justina Pelletier was suffering from a psychological condition called somatic system disorder . This is an unsupportable assertion because medical literature states that this mental illness requires months of observation to evaluate. There are no tests to ascertain SSD, judgment is purely subjective. Somatic system disorders, new psychiatric nomenclatures , are often alleged in medical child abuse custody petitions across the country.

To enhance her medical child abuse allegation, Dr. Newton told Judge Johnston that the cecostomy button procedure performed by Tufts as a result of Justina's diagnosed mitochondrial disease was a needless operation.

Dr. Newton did not tell Judge Johnston that Boston Children's Hospital treats mitochondrial disease and performs cecostomy button surgery. Justina had been referred to BCH to see Dr. Alejandro Flores, her former Tuft's gastroenterologist. All of this information was available to the court but it did not stay Judge Johnston's quick decision to revoke parental rights.

Opposing medical treatment opinions do not warrant the taking of a child so the question remains why did Dr. Alice Newton and Judge Joseph Johnston act to remove Justina from her parents' custody?

It is a disquieting consideration but children who become wards of the state due to physical and or medical abuse are valuable assets. They are used in medical research, prescribed experimental psychotropic drugs or as in the case of Justina Pelletier confined in psychiatric facilities.

Suggested Readings:

The Kids for Cash case of juvenile judges who violated children's civil rights.

2008 Testimony of Kimberly Castro regarding the death of her daughter Chelsey Cruz while she was under state protection and Boston Children's Hospital supervision.

Medical Child Abuse/MSBP 2004 Indictment of Kelly Savage — Ms. Savage was exonerated.

" UK firm tried HIV drug on orphans " in U.S. institutions. The Guardian —April 2004

The cruel methodology of children's clinical trials is detailed by Liam Scheff in " The House That AIDS Built ."

"Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries"—The New York Times—May 2014

Psychotropic Drugs: What Are They? "—ABC News—2011

"Atypical Antipsychotic Use Among Medicaid-Insured Children and Adolescents: Duration, Safety, and Monitoring Implications " —Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology—April 2014

Psychotropic Meds for Georgia Youth in Foster Care: Who Decides ? — Georgia Supreme Court Committee on Justice for Children—January 2011

" Payment of clinical research subjects " — The Journal of Clinical Investigation—2005

" The Justina Pelletier Medical Experiment "— Daily Kos—April 2014

" What Killed Rebecca Riley ?"—60 Minutes—2007

Watchdog Says Report of 10,000 Toddlers on ADHD Drugs Tip of the Iceberg —274,000 0-1 Year Olds and 370,000 Toddlers Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs— Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)—May 2014

"A medical collision with a child in the middle"—The Boston Globe—December 2013

"Frustration on all fronts in struggle over child’s futureThe Boston Globe—December 2013

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