(NaturalNews) In Massachusetts, apparently, a medical misdiagnosis can be the basis for the state to come in and take your child away, perhaps for good.
About a year ago, the parents of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier brought her to the emergency room of Children's Hospital in Boston where, according to local reports, doctors quickly diagnosed her with psychiatric problems.
That may seem normal enough, but as you might have suspected there is much more to the story.
Prior to that visit, Justina had been under treatment at Tufts Medical Center, which is also in Boston, for a rare condition known as mitochondrial disease -- a disorder where the body's cells don't produce energy, which causes chronic fatigue and severe digestive problems.
'It's all for Justina's good'
Apparently, Justina's parents attempted to inform the doctors at Children's Hospital of that fact, saying they disagreed with them regarding their psychiatric diagnosis. And for that, they got smacked by the heavy hand of the state of Massachusetts, as reported by the local CBS affiliate:
When the Pelletiers objected, Children's brought in DCF [Department of Children and Families] and the state took custody of Justina, essentially ruling her parents were committing medical child abuse by pursuing medical rather than psychological treatment. A judge later ruled in favor of keeping Justina in state custody.
That was in February 2013. Since then, Justina has been in Massachusetts state custody undergoing psychiatric treatment in a locked ward while her parents and the Children's Hospital medical staff clashed in court over her diagnosis and treatment.
"Our primary goal has always been the health and well-being of Justina. We want the parents to be able to work with the providers and courts to ultimately move Justina back to her home state of Connecticut," DCF spokesman Alex Loftus said in a statement.
Now, the Massachusetts DCF says that it is working to send Justina back, at least, to her home state of Connecticut, and that Tufts would soon begin overseeing her treatment again, in what appears to be a victory (finally) for her parents.
That said, it doesn't look like Justina will be returned to the custody of her parents as part of her move to Connecticut. The DCF statement only says that the state is looking "to find an appropriate placement near her home."
"It also notes that a medical team from Tufts has been chosen to care for Pelletier, which is in line with her parents' wishes," the CBS affiliate, WBZ, reported.
Only the heavy-handed state knows best
A number of Connecticut residents understand what "parental rights" means. According to The Boston Globe, many have stood up to support Justina's folks:
About 40 supporters of Connecticut parents who are locked in a custody battle with Massachusetts child protection officials rallied Saturday afternoon outside a Framingham care center where the couple's daughter, 15-year-old Justina Pelletier, is staying.
"This is part of the overall national campaign to free Justina," said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a family spokesman and head of the Washington-based Christian Defense Coalition, which organized the event. "When Justina is returned back to her family, we want her to know that there were scores standing with her who believed in this cause and came out to stand in solidarity with her."
Mahoney said, "There's a growing concern about government encroachment on the health care issue. Justina's case is the canary in the coal mine of a broader problem nationwide of the erosion of parental rights."
The Massachusetts DCF has been involved in a series of scandals recently, and as this case indicates, the heavy-handed mentality there seems to overrule better judgment.