The "Dr. Phil" show will welcome the family of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier on Monday, March 17, to discuss their claim that their daughter is being held against her will by Massachusetts child protection officials and drawing closer to death each day.
Per a March 14 correspondence from the "Dr. Phil" camp that was shared with Examiner, Pelletier's family "has been locked in a legal battle for a little over one year with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Boston Children’s Hospital."
The ordeal began after Justina received treatment for several months from Tufts Medical Center in Boston for mitochondrial disease, which is part of a group of rare genetic disorders that affect how cells produce energy, frequently causing problems with the stomach, brain, muscles and heart.
Following her treatment at Tufts, Justina's parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, opted to take her to Boston Children's Hospital in February 2013 to have her examined by a gastroenterologist who had transferred from Tufts. Following her exam by a different set of doctors, they reportedly determined her condition was psychological, not medical, and stopped giving her the medications that her family claims she needs to survive.
Moreover, according to a media statement, "The doctors also claimed Justina’s parents were committing 'medical child abuse' for having her undergo medical procedures that were not necessary and contacted the Massachusetts Department of Child and Families." Consequently, a judge intervened and awarded the Commonwealth of Massachusetts custody of the Justina, despite the parents denying abuse, and now they are permitted only a one-hour visit with their daughter each week.
It is the hope of Justina’s parents that their nationally televised forum on the "Dr. Phil" show will not only draw national attention to their plight, but also expose Boston Children’s Hospital’s alleged abuse of power before the situation becomes even more tragic.
In his forthcoming interview, Lou Pelletier--in response to the hospital's claim that the family had Justina undergo unnecessary medical treatment, including surgery--told Dr. Phil, "Everything was medically verified, and I always say, insurance-approved, because nothing would (have) be done (otherwise)."
It is the family's belief that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is not saving their daughter's life, but endangering it.