Final Custody Hearing for West Hartford Girl in Boston Hospital
Sources tell FOX CT that the Boston Judge presiding over the custody case involving West Hartford teenager, Justina Pelletier, will deliver his final verdict, perhaps as soon as December 20th.
The Judge heard the case Thursday in Boston at what marked what was likely the final day in a series of custody hearings spanning more than ten months.
Outside the courthouse, a small crowd braved the Boston cold to support 15 year old, Justina Pelletier, and her family.
The West Hartford, CT, teen was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease years ago at Tufts Medical Center, a condition causing muscle pain and weakness.
Fast forward to February 10th 2013, when, at the suggestion of a Doctor, parents Lou and Linda Pelletier, admitted her to Boston Children’s Hospital because she was severely weakened by the flu.
But within four days, they say different doctors swooped in and made a different diagnosis of “somatoform disorder”, a mental condition, not mitochondrial disease.
Internal documents from inside Boston Children’s Hospital obtained by FOX CT, show that when the parents disagreed and tried to discharge Justina, security made them leave the building and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families was called in, taking custody of Justina, custody that they’ve maintained now for more than ten months.
“Justina’s still at Boston Children’s, you know… so nothing has changed as far as that goes”, said Heather Harwood Thursday, outside the courthouse.
Harwood made the two-hour trek again from West Hartford, CT, like she did for last week’s hearing.
She didn’t know the Pelletiers before the story was broken by FOX CT on November 18th, but says she’s interested because she happens to live in the same town and has two kids of her own, with mitochondrial disease.
“I think that people at first, when they hear the story they don’t believe it, they question it …. as people learn more they are just blown away that this is really happening”, she said.
Harwood was flanked by several other parents, Thursday, including Heidi MacCurtain.
“We wanted to come by and show our support to the family”, MacCurtain said.
MacCurtain showed up with her 3 year old daughter Abby, who suffers from “mito”, which short for mitochondrial disease.
“Mito”, is what the disease is largely known by within the community of kids and adults who suffer with the condition.
Ginger DeShaney helps to run the support group MitoAction.org, which is now publicly supporting Justina and the Pelletier family.
“This hits home for so many Mito families and since this has come to light, we’ve been inundated with emails and phone calls”, said DeShaney.
She says there have been hundreds upon hundreds of calls.
Sources tell FOX CT that Justina testified in person for the first time at Thursday’s hearing, in addition to testimony from the Tufts Medical Center Physician who diagnosed her with mitochondrial disease, Dr. Mark Korson.
FOX CT is told the Judge is set to make a final custody ruling perhaps as soon as Friday December 20th at the Boston courthouse.
It’s a decision that is crucial as both the Pelletiers and many other families eagerly await the verdict.
“They just need to get her home. The holidays are two weeks away. I can’t imagine if she’s not home by then for her or for them”, said Harwood.