With a Feb. 24 court date approaching, the father of Justina Pelletier has spoken.
Justina, just 15 years old, has been in the custody of the state of Massachusetts for slightly more than one year now. In February 2013, Justina caught the flu. For people in good health, the flu is typically an easily beaten – even if unpleasant – ailment. But Justina has been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by Tufts University doctors. Mitochondrial disease can make even the most mundane sickness a legitimate health concern. Because of this, Justina’s parents checked her into Boston Children’s Hospital.
After three days in the hospital, BCH doctors delivered some unexpected news. They told the Pelletiers that Justina’s health problems – both the flu and her mitochondrial disease diagnosis – were not legitimate physical sicknesses. They thought Justina’s problems were psychosomatic and said she needed mental health help.
Shockingly, the Massachusetts accused the Pelletiers of over-medicating their daughter and took custody of her. That was one year ago. In the year since, the Pelletiers have spent time, money, and endless emotional energy fighting to regain custody of Justina.
Justina’s father Lou Pelletier spoke to The Blaze recently about his family’s fight.
“We need help,” he said. “I’m trying to save my daughter’s life.”
The Pelletiers are due back in court on Feb. 24.
“Now we go back the 24th, a week from today, and I want to have all my guns blazing,” Pelletier said. "We’re not going to make it much more."
His daughter Jessica, who is also diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, chimed in, as well.
“Our family, I don’t know how we survived this long,” she said.
The Pelletiers are hoping, as they have for more than a year now, to regain custody of Justina and continue the Tufts-recommended regiment that was successfully treating her mitochondrial disease.
“She needs physical therapy,” Lou Pelletier said. "She needs to be back on the vitamin cocktail. She needs to be treated for the goddamn diagnosis she had from the beginning. I need to save my daughter. If we don’t do something, she is going to die.”
The Pelletiers set up a PayPal account connected to freejustina.com in hopes of raising money to cover the legal bills from their struggle.