Parents of Justina Pelletier Sue Boston Children’s Hospital


“I’m very angry, and I just don’t understand how this happened, and I just really don’t want this to happen again to another family,” said Justina Pelletier about her 16 months in state custody. The Pelletiers are filing suit against Boston Children’s Hospital for accusing them of “medical child abuse” for seeking treatment for a diagnosed medical condition, and holding Justina for psychiatric issues instead.

Boston Globe →

From the article:

“The 17-year-old Connecticut clutched a purple stress ball, fingernails painted turquoise, as she spoke from a wheelchair in front of the State House, where her parents had convened a press conference to discuss the lawsuit they recently filed against Children’s Hospital.

“They really treated me badly,” she said, looking older and more mature than when she was last publicly seen, being carried into her home by her father after being released from state custody. “They didn’t really care. It was awful.”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. I hope this case gets publicity, that the hospital is heavily fined, and that the treating psychiatrists are sentenced to prison for these outrageous abuses of a young girl. This was a truly horrific case, the kind of horror story that one expects to hear about in third world dictatorships but not here…

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    • I just Googled the title of this article and clicked news and it is getting some publicity.

      I will say it again. Attention doctors, pull a Justina style kidnapping on a member of my family and I will stomp you so hard in the parking lot after your shift you will be wheeled back into the hospital.

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      • Possibly the most uplifting comment I’ve read on MIA. If more people were willing to actually take these matters more seriously, to see them for what they really were, people would do more than just complain to professional and politicians or whine about it on the internet.

        We have children suffering permanent neurological movement disorders from being forced to take drugs for simple behavioral problems, and nobody is doing anything real about it at all, but thousands upon thousands of people are doing “something” that has no hope of accomplishing anything and then using it as their own emotional band-aid to move on with their life while Little Johnny continues spasming out in the corner from all that rispderdal/neuroleptic brain damage and now “destined” to a life of being a pharmaceutical cash cow and a “bum” on disability.

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    • Yeah – Then again, American ‘democracy’ has been behind installing lots of dictators across the Third World, and many cultures in ‘underdeveloped’ countries still have more holistic/spiritual ways of understanding chronic illness and emotional distress…

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  2. I give Justina’s parents alot of credit because I would not have handled it so well.

    Many years ago our dog ran off and a busy body neighbor called the pound after locking our dog in his yard so I had to go down to the animal “shelter” to get our dog out. I got there at about 4:10 PM and I was told I could not have my dog until I paid $25 got a dog license and all that. I did not have $25 dollars with me and I was told they close at 4:30 PM . I said I wanted the tag but 20 minutes is not enough time to make the nearest ATM. They would not return our dog until I paid.

    I almost got in a fight at that point but I got in my car and went speeding to an ATM to get the $25 ransom money so I could get our dog back, a MEMBER OF OUR FAMILY who I did not want spending the night in that wrenched place and coming home traumatized. I made it back, the car had that burnt oil smell from driving it so hard but I got our dog.

    I don’t know if I should be typing these things into the internet but I can tell you if some hospital kidnaps a human member of my family like in the Justina case someone responsible is getting hurt and I don’t really care if I do a jail term because someone is getting stomped on and their face broken teeth kicked in.

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      • The four psychiatrists in the case – Jurriaan Peters, Simona Bujoreanu, Alice Newton, and Colleen Ryan – should all face massive fines, disbarment from the “profession” of psychiatry, and prison time. Robbing a person of over a year of their life via incarceration for a nonexistent “disease”, inflicting psychological torture on them, pressuring the girl to take drugs without warning of the long-term side effects… what these psychiatrists did is kidnapping and (psychological) rape and they deserve severe punishment.

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    • If Joesph Beiderman and Kayoko Kifuji (psychiatrist who killed Rebecca Riley) didn’t get in trouble then there is no real hope to be found in the “justice” system.

      Beiderman is responsible for the massive increase in the use of neuroleptic drugs in children over the last 20 some years, and all the brain damage and permanent neurological problems that ensue from it. He was caught in undeniable guilt as official documents from both him and drug companies had him admitting to fabricating results, cooking data, promising them positive results for studies he hadn’t published yet, all while accepting AT LEAST 1.6 million dollars from them to do so.

      Got away with it, completely. They all do. They always do.

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    • Yeah I read a lot of those back when this as first going on. Don’t have the stress tolerance to do it again. But you might be amazed by how many people defer to authorities, no matter what, and how many people consider doctors themselves to be authorities. Most people are afraid of chaos and of death and will try to comfort themselves with their faith in “protectors” from it, until that comfort is broken by either suffering the consequences of doing so or a realization of the harm and suffering they are causing.

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