In a desperate plea posted on Sunday, the Connecticut teen who was removed from her parents’ care more than a year ago begged Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to let her go home.
Justina Pelletier posted the video to Facebook, where she tearfully said, “All I really want is to be with my family and friends.”
Pelletier went on to address Judge Joseph Johnston, the judge in her case, saying, “You can do it. You’re the one that’s judging this.”
In 2010, Pelletier’s parents, Lou and Lin, submitted their daughter for an evaluation at Tufts University, where she was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that frequently causes problems with the gut, brain, muscles and heart.
However, when the Pelletiers took Justina to Boston Children’s Hospital in February 2013, doctors offered an alarmingly different explanation: doctors diagnosed the girl with a psychological disorder, rather than a physical disorder.
Furthermore, doctors claimed that her parents had overmedicated their daughter and had denied her mental health care. The discrepancy in diagnoses allegedly cast doubts on her parents’ ability to properly care for her, and the teenager was removed from her parents’ custody.
Refusing to accept the idea that their daughter’s physical symptoms were caused by psychological problems, Lou and Lin tried to have their daughter discharged from Boston Children’s Hospital and brought back to Tufts.
The Pelletiers’ attempts were quickly stopped.
Lin recalls that, “They came in, and they said we cannot take Justina out of the hospital.” The hospital even called the Department for Children and Families (DCF) in their attempts to keep the girl under their care.
During her ensuing stay at Boston Children’s Hospital, she was only allowed to visit with her parents one hour every week.
Although she was released from the hospital earlier this year, her separation from her parents still did not come to an end: Pelletier was not allowed to go home and has instead been living at a residential treatment facility in Connecticut.
As indicated by her Facebook video, however, home is exactly where she wants to be.
“I need to be home with my family,” she pleads. “I know you can do it. Please right now, I need to be home right now.”
On Friday, the state filed a motion to close her case.