Unexplained Illness Leads to Child Custody Battle
A 15-year-old Connecticut girl by the name of Justina Pelletier, who was in the midst of both a child custody and medical dispute, has been discharged from Boston Children's Hospital.
Justina had been a patient at the hospital for almost a year. Her medical issues included trouble eating and walking. This condition was a byproduct of psychological troubles. The teen was physically healthy.
The situation has received national attention with the line between psychiatric and physical illness being exposed. The hospital taking care of Justina has emphasized that the environment is restrictive and that Justina should be removed from the environment as soon as possible.
Some consider excessive hospitalization for psychiatric issues no more than medical child abuse.
Justina's parents do not currently have custody as the state child-welfare agency has maintained temporary custody since February of last year. Justina's parents have been pushing to relocate her to a more fitting environment, due to the negatives of being located in a hospital for too long.
Her parents' custody rights were stripped during an emergency on Valentine's Day of 2013 when physicians had suspected the parents of medical child abuse. Justina had been experiencing severe flu-like symptoms when she arrived at the hospital. When the parents did not approve of the treatment the doctors were proposing, they attempted to leave with her when they were informed they would not be allowed to remove Justina from the hospital.
Hospital security guards then escorted the teen away from the family. "We actually called 911 and said our daughter had been kidnapped by Boston Children's Hospital," the father said. "We didn't even get a chance to say goodbye."
Since the incident, the parents have been restricted from meeting with their daughter, with the exception of one hour per week visits. The visits are supervised at the Boston Children's psychiatric ward.
Justina has been diagnosed with somatoform pain disorder. According to sources, the disorder means there is no known cause for the pain and no medical explanation.
Justina, who was once an active and happy teenager is now confined to a wheelchair and separated from her family. The parents have been fighting to regain custody since.
This story is a good example of how unexplained medical illnesses in children can have adverse affects on their custody. If you are experiencing a custody battle for one of your children, our child custody lawyers can help. Contact a child custody lawyer in your area today for more information.
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