A juvenile court judge ordered that a Connecticut teen remain in the custody of Boston Children’s Hospital, where she’s been in a psychiatric unit for the past ten months.
Justina Pelletier is the daughter of Linda and Lou Pelletier of West Hartford, CT. The story began last February when Justina’s mother took Justina to the emergency room at Boston Children’s — she told the ER staff that her daughter was suffering from symptoms associated with mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder.
The physician treating Justina for the disease, Dr Mark Korson of Tufts University sent Justina to Children’s because her gastroenterologist relocated there.
But doctors at children began to suspect that something else was going on – they diagnosed the girl with somatoform disorder, a psychiatric illness wherein a patient feels pain for no physical reason.
Although no physical problem is detected, medical experts emphasize that the pain sufferers feel is very real; the worry and stress they experience over their condition exacerbates the pain itself, causing a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.
The judge who presided over the custody hearing said that he is willing to keep an open mind re Justina’s case and has called for an independent investigation of the situation. Another hearing is set for January 10th.