'Huckabee' Exclusive: Justina Pelletier Speaks Out for First Time
The Connecticut teen at the center of a 16-month custody battle between her family and the state of Massachusetts was on “Huckabee” last night to describe the ordeal.
Justina Pelletier was 14 when her parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital with flu-like symptoms. She had previously been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by doctors at Tufts Medical Center. But when Justina arrived at Boston Children’s Hospital, doctors threw out that diagnosis. They told Justina’s parents that she had a psychological condition called somatoform disorder and that her symptoms were in her head.
The teen was placed in DCF custody when her parents attempted to take her back to Tufts, igniting a 16-month-long custody battle. A judge finally ruled this month that Justina could return home.
Justina and her family were on “Huckabee” for her first interview since she was placed back into her parents’ care. Justina, now 16, described the ordeal as "very scary.”
“No one was on my side there, no one believed me there,” she said. “Everyone thought that I was faking all this medical stuff.”
Doctors stopped giving her the medicine she had been taking, and she went from figure skating to being confined to a wheelchair.
Her father Lou described the hospital’s treatment of Justina as “a mad psychiatric experiment,” explaining that she was diagnosed with the complex psychiatric disorder after a 25-minute interview, although somatoform disorder usually takes at least a year to diagnose.
Justina’s mother Linda said the hardest part was worrying day and night, not knowing what was going on with her daughter.
The teen told Mike Huckabee that her family never did anything wrong.
“I love them so much. I can’t believe I’m home with them,” she said.
Justina’s sisters, Jennifer, Jessica, and Julia, said they’re happy to have her back home and for things to get back to normal.
Still, Justina has a long road to recovery ahead of her. She will only be able to attend school for an hour per day and will have daily water and land physical therapy.
The teen also weighed in on the proposed “Justina’s Law,” which is supported on both sides of the aisle by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.). She said the proposed legislation is “awesome” and that nobody should have to go through what she did.
Watch the interview below.