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Boston Children’s Hospital Pioneers ‘Parent-Ectomy’

This aggressive legal-medical maneuver gives hospitals unbridled power, allows children to be abused and medicaid plundered.

by
Rhonda Robinson

Bio

February 28, 2014 - 3:00 pm

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 3.20.18 PM

From The Boston Globe:

“They were making the white-knuckled trip from Connecticut because 14-year-old Justina wasn’t eating and was having trouble walking. Just six weeks earlier, the girl had drawn applause at a holiday ice-skating show near her home in West Hartford, performing spins, spirals, and waltz jumps.

But now Justina’s speech was slurred, and she was having so much trouble swallowing that her mother was worried her daughter might choke to death.

Justina had been sick on and off for several years. A team of respected doctors at Tufts Medical Center in Boston had been treating her for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders that affect how cells produce energy, often causing problems with the gut, brain, muscles and heart.”

At the advice of her specialist Dr. Mark Korson, Justina was taken to Children’s Hospital, rather than Tufts Medical Center where she had standing appointments and ongoing care. Korson wanted her seen by the gastroenterologist that had treated Justina for some time, until he left Tufts to practice at Children’s.

Much to her parent’s dismay, Justina was never allowed to see the doctor, in spite of the fact he knew her case well. Instead, she was assigned a new team of doctors.

Within three days her diagnosis was completely disregarded and her parents were informed that the new team was withdrawing their daughter from her medications. In spite of the fact Justina was physically deteriorating, the Children’s Hospital doctors believed Justina’s problems were psychiatric in nature.

When Justina’s parents objected, they were met with a letter demanding acceptance of the new diagnosis and treatment. The letter also forbid the parents any outside consultation, transfer to a different hospital or even a second opinion.

When Justina’s father arrived he was more than a little upset:

“We have standing appointments for her at Tufts,” he said. “Enough is enough. We want her discharged.”

[Justina's father] assumed it was their right as Justina’s parents to remove their daughter and take her to the hospital of their choice. But behind the scenes, Children’s had contacted the state’s child protection agency to discuss filing “medical child abuse” charges, as doctors grew suspicious that the parents were harming Justina by interfering with her medical care and pushing for unnecessary treatments.

When it became obvious that Justina’s parents were not going to comply, but rather looked for ways to transfer her, the hospital placed a “minder” in her room around the clock to monitor the parents.

Filing charges allowed the hospital to get an emergency order to strip away all parental authority and protection. Justina’s parents were then escorted out of the hospital by security.

Justina has spent over a year in the hospital, locked away on a psychiatric ward, beyond the reach of her parents. Once Justina was locked behind the doors of a psychiatric unit, parental visits became more and more restricted.

As a ward of the state, there was basically no supervision of her care– and the hospital bill is allowed to spiral out of control. One can only imagine what it costs to live in a hospital for a year.

As troubling as this family’s plight is, what’s more worrisome is the fact that this is not an anomaly. Within 18 months this hospital was involved with at least five different cases the Globe could find,where a disagreement over a medical diagnosis resulted in parents losing custody of their sick children.

“It happens often enough that the pediatrician who until recently ran the child protection teams at both Children’s and Massachusetts General Hospital said she and others in her field have a name for this aggressive legal-medical maneuver. They call it a ‘parent-ectomy.’”

The Blaze reports that Massachusetts State Reps. Marc Lombard and Jim Lyons have begun circulating a resolution in hopes of persuading the Department of Children and Families to start the process of reuniting Justina with her parents.

“Parent-Ectomy” is a profound abuse of children, parents and moral authority.

Can you think of a more immoral abuse of power than a hospital that will use the legal system as a weapon to capture and steal sick children away from their parents until every last dime is squeezed out?

Photo taken from Justice for Justine

Rhonda Robinson writes on the social, political and parenting issues currently shaping the American family. She lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Middle Tennessee. www.amotherslife.me Follow on twitter @amotherslife

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All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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If we are willing to accept the state taking away parental rights and forcing chemo on a child whose parents believe in faith healing, and we are willing to accept the state taking away parental rights and forcing a blood transfusion on a child whose parents are members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, then we have no basis on which to complain about this situation.

ALL of these are cases of the state overriding parental rights because the doctors have decreed it is in the best interest of the child.

Accept that principle, or reject it.

We don't get to pick and choose based on OUR opinion of the merits of the parents' preferences.



21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Justina has spent over a year in the hospital, locked away on a psychiatric ward..."

how is she doing? a year's therapeutic trial should be giving answers. that is aside from the important question, which is "how is she doing?"
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The judge put a gag order on the case, and the parents are only allowed one hour per week visit-- so that's a good question.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ever heard of munchausen by proxy? I bet that is what the hospital thinks is going on here.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. I have. However, once removed from the parent's care- she would have improved. However, she did not. They ended up doing the very procedures that the family requested.

Also, consider this: if that were the case wouldn't you think the hospital would consult with the other doctors? The fact is, that this family had their child under medical care and was diagnosed by a credible specialist.

This hospital's dispute was with the other hospital's diagnosis. The family's trust was with the other hospital and therefore was not easily convinced that everything they had been told up to that point wasn't true. This hospital would not allow second opinions, nor would they allow the doctor they went to see there (who was very familiar with the family and the case) to see the child.

Also, and odd twist which I think is telling. The psychiatrist that diagnosed Justina diagnosed her with the very same illness that she discovered, or has written about. This looks like this doctor made her own lab rat out of a young girl--to further her research.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Didn't the parents retain an attorney?!
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. I believe they did.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hasn't done much good.

I cannot imagine the agony these people are enduring.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can tell you this. There is not a more dangerous group of quacks than psychiatrists. They should have no power to detain anyone ever or force treatment on anyone ever. The long list of their abuses seems not to have any impact on society, which has a deep seated "need" to believe, but they are the Inquisitors of the medical world. The sooner we are rid of them, the better.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"They should have no power to detain anyone ever or force treatment on anyone ever."

What should be done with people who are mentally ill? Turn them loose in the streets?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's exactly what was done in the 80s under Carter. The result was the explosion of homeless that showed up in Reagan's first term.

In fact, it is VERY difficult to get a person committed against his will.

21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember, Justina is not mentally ill.

Also, the problem is that there is too much power given to the medical community-- doctors are not gods. They should not be able to slap a label on anyone and strip them of their rights without any recourse.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was talking abut those who are mentally ill, which Justina isn't. Was she not represented by an attorney at a committment hearing?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's really no way of knowing. Once they stripped the parents of their rights, she became a ward of the state. These people are all going to follow the dictates of whatever medical professional presents them with. We have come to the point where stating the obvious, "Parents must have the right to control the care of their children" sounds foreign and suspect.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
It appears that there have been several hearings (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/28/mass-department-of-children-families-releases-statement-on-pelletier-case/ ) but what really has forced the hands of DCF has been the media coverage.

While I'm glad that the agency has dropped the contempt charges against Mr. Pelletier, I wonder about families in similar situations who are not media savvy and don't have the financial resources or knowledge of how to attract the big guns of organizations such as the Christian Defense Fund and Liberty Counsel.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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