Justina Pelletier transferred to Philadelphia hospital

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WEST HARTFORD- It's been six months since West Hartford teen Justina Pelletier returned to Connecticut and to the custody of her parents after a 15-month custody battle that made national headlines.

Now, Pelletier is hospitalized out of state once again.

According to her sister, Jennifer Pelletier, Justina is being treated at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Justina became the center of national news reports in late 2013 and early 2014 after Fox CT first reported her story.

It started when the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families took custody of Pelletier in Feburary 2013 after Boston Children's Hospital doctors said Pelletier suffered from a mental condition called somatoform disorder.

This diagnosis contradicted a previous diagnosis by Pelletier's doctors at Tufts Medical Center, who determined she had mitochondrial disease, a physical condition.

Fifteen months after the custody battle had begun, Pelletier came home in June 2014 after a judge gave custody back to her parents.

But her sister says all was not right with Justina. "She was definitely really happy to be home and back to her life and I think that masked some of her health issues for a little bit, even though she was still having medical problems," said Jennifer Pelletier, speaking from the family's home Dec. 9.

Jennifer said Justina was still suffering from serious gastrointestinal pain, to the point that she had to be admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital in late September. Pelletier spent two months there, including Halloween, undergoing tests and receiving treatments.

But, Pelletier's stomach problems persisted.

"It's definitely not over just because she's home, right now she has to recover from everything that's happened to her from that whole time, it's another chapter," said Jennifer.

On Dec. 1, 2014, Justina's Yale doctors advised a transfer to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where Justina is now.

Her parents and one of her older sisters are in Pennsylvania as well, where Jennifer Skypes with Justina hoping to keep her spirits high.

The family said a lack of treatment for Justina's mitochondrial disease while in Boston, has had lasting effects on her. "It set her back," said Jennifer.

Justina's family would like to see her return to Connecticut in time for Christmas. Once again they'll be placing their trust in doctors, but this time, hoping for a better outcome.

"They [doctors] all do want the best for her and they've expressed as well they want to help her get better and they feel bad for what she`s been through," said Jennifer.

Jennifer said there is not a clear timetable as to when Justina might be released from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Related stories:

Justina Pelletier moved to Connecticut facility

Exclusive: Justina Pelletier’s father vows to keep fighting in custody battle

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  • nwbl

    Maybe, just maybe, Children’s Hospital had it right. The parents seem to have blown it since they’ve had her back. Yale Hosp. didn’t have the expertise? Uh huh. Good luck, Philly Children’s.

    • Angie B

      Justina was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in 2011, a genetic condition for which one of her older sisters is also being treated. In my opinion, it’s the lack of treatment during her confinement that caused her current health problems.

    • April Moore

      Obviously, it was not all “in her head” as Boston’ s claimed – and the parents fought to have her back on mito meds. Do you really believe that the lack of medication is NOT the cause of her current ills?!

  • BrightRose

    Thanks Boston Children’s and DCFS. You did such a good job for this child. You’ve successfully put her health progress back. Thank God we have “experts” like you guys to tell us how to take care of our children. (Sarcasm)