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“THE HAPPIEST GIRL ON THE PLANET”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 17, 2014) — A tweet from Pelletier family spokesman Rev. Patrick Mahoney on Tuesday evening at 8:47 p.m. EDT reports that Justina Pelletier, the 16-year-old who was taken into the custody of Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) 16 months ago over a medical diagnosis dispute, will be “going home tomorrow.”
A hearing on Justina’s status was to take place on Friday. It was not immediately clear how a ruling was made on Tuesday.
DCF took custody of Justina after two doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital claimed that her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, were guilty of “medical child abuse” by following a medical plan provided by Tufts Medical Center with the diagnosis of mitochondrial disease, which one of Justina’s older sisters also has. Justina was taken to Boston Children’s for flu symptoms at the suggestion of her medical team at Tufts in February of last year. After BCH doctors said that she suffered from somatoform disorder rather than mitochondrial disease, Lou and Linda attempted to have her discharged to return to Tufts, but BCH contacted child protective services and convinced the agency that Justina’s parents were not fit to make medical decisions for her.
Justina had been a competitive figure-skater and is now confined to a wheelchair.
Support for Justina’s return home has come from all over the world. Weekly Twitter campaigns every Sunday at 8:00 p.m. EDT bombarded Massachusetts officials with pleas to return Justina to the care of her parents.
A report on WFSB-Hartford on Monday night reported that Justina had spent the last two weekends on home visits.
The Hartford Courant reported two minutes before Mahoney’s joyful tweet that the Pelletiers received word of Justina’s impending return late this afternoon. In a statement to the paper, Lou Pelletier resolved that a law bearing his daughter’s name would be passed to prevent children from being seized by DCF without good cause. “I’m going to be the guy that’s going to change that,” Pelletier was quoted as having said.
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families reportedly will not be following Justina after her return to West Hartford, CT on Wednesday. “They’re all gone, the case is shut down, the case is closed,” said Liberty Counsel Attorney Mat Staver of state agency involvement. Staver has been working closely with the family for the last three months.