After spending more than a year in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, a Boston judge has finally ruled 16-year-old Justina Pelletier can return home. On radio this morning, Glenn thanked the audience for their unwavering interest in the case and celebrated the “great” news.
“Let's start with another great story. It is the story of Justina Pelletier,” Glenn said. “She's supposed to be returned to her home. Yesterday at about 3 o’clock I got an email from Mat Staver at Liberty Counsel, and he said she's on her way home tomorrow morning – that's today. So she is being released from the hospital, back to her parents.”
For those unfamiliar with the case, in February 2013 a then-15-year-old Justina was brought to Boston Children’s Hospital after suffering complications with the flu. Prior to this, the Connecticut teen had been diagnosed and treated by a physician at Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease – a disease that affects the function of the cell’s mitochondria.
Once at Boston Children’s Hospital, however, doctors declared Justina had somatoform disorder, a psychiatric disorder, and stopped treating the mitochondrial disease. When the Pelletiers disagreed with the treatment plan set forth by these doctors and tried to discharge Justina to take her elsewhere, they were accused of medical child abuse and lost custody of their daughter to the Massachusetts DCF. Over the course of the past year, Justina’s condition had deteriorated rapidly.
After months of back and forth and dead ends, Judge Joseph Johnston finally ruled Justina’s parents – Lou and Linda Pelletier – will regain custody of their daughter.
“I find that the parties have shown by credible evidence that circumstances have changed since the adjudication on Dec. 20, 2013, that Justina is a child in need of care and protection pursuant to G.L. c. 199, 24-26,” Johnston wrote in the ruling, according to the Boston Globe. “Effective Wednesday, June 18, 2014, this care and protection petition is dismissed and custody of Justina is returned to her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier.”
On Tuesday, the Facebook page that has been chronicling Justina’s condition posted a video from the teen in which she thanks all those who fought for her freedom.
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel has been providing legal services to the Pelletiers since hearing about the case on the Glenn Beck Radio Program late last year. While Staver wouldn’t confirm the Pelletiers plan to file a lawsuit in the case, he told TheBlaze “there is a real strong desire by everyone involved, even the community, to make sure the people responsible are held accountable.”
“Now, this brings up a whole bunch of questions for us,” Glenn said. “I mean we have to get dad back on the phone and find out from him some of this after things settle down. Are you going to continue to live in Connecticut now?”
“No way,” Stu responded.
“You live in a trailer. You live in a two-room apartment if you have to,” Glenn agreed. “You get your family out of there.”
Considering Justina still faces health problems, Glenn, Pat, and Stu wondered what they would do if it was their child in this situation. Can you ever trust a hospital or doctor again?
“And how do you ever take Justina to a hospital again? You just wouldn't,” Pat said. “[But] she's deteriorated a lot in the last 16 months. She can't walk now… She hasn't gone to school. There's been no education of her in over a year. No church, no school. It's hideous what they've done to her… She can barely talk.”
The Pelletier family is sure to face a lot of challenges as they work to get Justina acclimated and healthy again. While Staver was coy about future litigation against Boston Children’s Hospital and the state of Massachusetts, Glenn hopes to see a “major lawsuit.”
“If this isn't a major lawsuit, there is no justice. And here's the thing. You put this in front of an impartial jury, and they will kill the Boston Children's Hospital. They will bankrupt them,” Glenn concluded. “Because remember, it's the jury. Everybody is like, ‘I don't like these out-of-control lawsuits with these big settlements.’ It's the jury that decides how much to pay. It's not the judge. It's not the lawyers. It's the jury.”