'I love you more than anything in the world': Girl, 15, forced to send notes to her parents hidden in origami after they lose custody of her to a HOSPITAL

20 November 2013 5:48 PM

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'I love you more than anything in the world': Girl, 15, forced to send notes to her parents hidden in origami after they lose custody of her to a HOSPITAL

The parents of a 15-year-old girl who has a long history of medical problems have lost custody of her to a hospital.

Justina Pelletier was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that can cause loss of muscle coordination and weakness, several years ago.

The teenager from West Hartford, Connecticut, however was able to live a normal life until coming down with the flu in February.

Justina was admitted to Boston Children's Hospital to receive treatment from a specialist she has known since her diagnosis.

Upon admission however a team of new doctors allegedly swooped in on the teen and came up with a different conclusion about her condition.

They also cast doubt on whether she had ever had mitochondrial disease, suggesting she in fact suffering from Somafotorm disorder - a psychological condition that manifests itself in physical symptoms.

After the conflicting diagnosis, doctors allegedly gave Justina's parents the heart-breaking news that they wouldn't be able to take their daughter home.

Nine months after the incident. Mr and Mrs Pelletier remain embroiled in a bitter custody battle with the hospital who allow Justina so little time to see her family she has resorted to smuggling letters to them in origami artwork.

'This one’s in her artwork,' says Justina’s sister, Jennifer, pointing to a folded note.

'I know you trust in me. Don’t forget it. I love you more than everything in the whole world. Justina,' Linda Pelletier reads from one note.

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families allows Justina’s parents just one hour-long visit per week and two twenty minute phone calls.

Speaking of the moment their daughter was taken away from her, the teenager's mother said: ''They came in, and they said we cannot take Justina out of the hospital.

Linda and her husband Lou Pelletier were escorted out of the hospital by security, and within the short space of four days they had lost custody of their beloved daughter.

'It's beyond any wildest nightmare that you could think of,' said the teenager's father.

'It's the most bizarre situation I've ever been involved with,' said Dean Hokanson, Justina's clinical psychologist.

'They were actually being accused of being too active in pursuing healthcare matters for their child,' said Hokanson who has been involved with the Pelletier family for five years.

Now, the family is locked into a bitter custody battle with the hospital that has allegedly accused them of 'overmedicalizing' their child.

While the Pelletier family were able to give their account before the court case began, the Department of Children and Families and Boston Children's hospital could not comment on the case following a judge's decision to prohibit public statements.

Internal discharge documents however reveal why the hospital may have felt inclined to involve child protection authorities.

A report, written in April 2013 by one of the hospital's staff states how doctors took Justina off many of the medications she was taking at the time she was admitted.

'Due to concerns regarding Justina’s regressive behavior changes around her family, the multiple medical procedures and care episodes she has been through … and both parents’ resistance towards recommended treatment plans for Justina … a child protection team was convened,' it read.

The Pelletier family however provided proof that every procedure and prescription in Justina's medical history was sanctioned by doctors, including Tufts Medical Center specialist, Dr Mark Korson.

Dr. Amel Karaa of Massachusetts General Hospital, says conditions like mitochondrial disorder commonly lead to confusion for health care providers.

The Pelletiers continue to fight the hospital to regain custody of Justina. They will appear again in court on December 5.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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