While I have not studied it thoroughly and certainly don't know all the details, what I can gather is this:
16 months ago, some parents (Lou and Linda Pelletier) brought their young teenage daughter (Justina) into Boston Children's Hospital because they suspected she had the flu.
Doesn't seem like that big a deal, right?
Apparently it was.
The thing is, Justina had been diagnosed and treated by a physician from Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease. When they went into Boston Children's, the doctors there disagreed with the diagnosis of mitochondrial disease and said instead that she had some sort of psychiatric illness. Apparently the mitochondrial disease symptoms were all in her head? I don't know.
Well, her parents disagreed with this new diagnosis and began action to take her away from Boston Children's and back to her previous doctor. And who wouldn't? If your child had symptoms and has been treated by a doctor you trust, wouldn't you go back there if a similar situation arose?
Now, I have no idea why they went to Boston Children's instead of Tuft to begin with. Perhaps it was as simple as location? Or maybe there were other reasons. It really doesn't matter. What matters is what happened next.
Boston Children's somehow got the State of Massachusetts involved. They thought that the parents were in the wrong and decided to take Justina away from her parents because "they knew what was best for someone else's child".
Are you kidding me?
So, the hospital and state disagreed with these parents, and instead of - oh, I don't know - LETTING THEM BE HER PARENTS, they rip her out of her home and away from her family because they think they can do a better job of caring for her? But it hasn't just been a quick investigation to see if they were fit parents, oh no. (which would have been bad enough, by the way) It's been SIXTEEN MONTHS of separation. Parents rarely get to see their daughter, daughter has no stable family support system around her, and seriously who knows exactly what happened to her while she was in the state's custody?
I do not know where she was. I don't know who was taking care of her. I don't know any details. Obviously some out there do, and I think it will be very interesting hearing her side of the story come out.
The bottom line is that a hospital didn't agree with parents on how their daughter was getting medically treated (by another physician, no less), so they called the state in, the state took said daughter away from the parents, and the parents have been fighting for 16 whole months to get their precious daughter back.
Does anyone else find this extremely disturbing?
Where are parents rights in all of this? Don't we as mommies and daddies have the say in what our kids are exposed to, what medical treatment is chosen for them, what school they attend, and overall how they are raised? I say absolutely!
I don't want some bureaucrat telling my husband and I how, where, or what we need to do when raising our children.
I don't want some doctor telling me what I have to do to our children or they will be calling the authorities.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing is happening more and more. Women are being forced into c-sections. Couples are being forced to vaccinate their newborns. Parents are being forced into treating their kids medically and chemically instead of naturally, or however they see most fit for their family. I just saw a headline the other day about a woman who had a homebirth got her newborn taken away for a time because she was accused of child endangerment or abuse or something of that nature. Seriously?
Who knows how many other Justinas there are out there. Children who are taken away for no good reason. Taken away from their loving families just because some doctor somewhere disagrees with a course of treatment and someone working for the state agrees. My prayer is that any other families who are going through something as horrific as this are getting the justice that they deserve. I pray that they are reunited quickly and without incident. And I pray that there are no lasting emotional effects. I pray that they are able to work through it all and process it and move on while trying to make up for lost time together.
This isn't a political issue. This is a parenting and human rights issue. I hope and pray that no matter what side of the aisle you fall into politically that stories like this waken you to the fact that it could happen, and much closer to home than Massachusetts. I'm pretty sure there was a story not long ago about a hospital on a reservation right here in SD forcing pregnant women into induction, whether or not they were ready, whether or not they had childcare lined up for their other children, and whether or not their partners were with them.
So, first of all I want to say "Thank you Jesus that Justina is going home where she is meant to be".
Secondly, I pray that we as parents are all vigilant in our efforts to stay in control of our parenting rights. Read everything thoroughly before you sign, KNOW what's going on at school, keep track of your children's friends and who they talk to online, and know your state and local laws and your rights based on those laws. There are also many organizations out there working diligently to help us keep our parental rights. I would encourage you to find them, support them, and join the fight if you haven't already. Our children are way too precious to have someone else who doesn't know them, love them, or care for them the way we do raise them and make decisions on their behalf.
That's our job, thank you, and not one we take lightly.
Keep up the good work, parents! You are doing perfectly!!