On Monday, February 17, cannotsay, a regular commenter on this website, left a link to a White House petition on a recent post.
The petition calls for an investigation into possible civil rights violations in the case of Justina Pelletier, 15, who is being held by court order in a residential unit in Framingham, Massachusetts. The issue is complicated and contentious. The psychiatrists apparently maintain that she has a psychiatric “illness” (somatoform pain disorder), whereas her parents and other physicians say that she suffers from mitochondrial disease. Wikipedia has an article on mitochondrial disease.
There’s also a comprehensive ABC News article on Justina’s case.
I’m a little uncomfortable with the wording of the petition, in that it begins with the assertion that “…patients and, in the case of a minor, their parents are the final authority in determining their medical treatment.” As a general principle, I support this contention, but there are rare occasions in which parents, for reasons of their own, deny a child treatment even in the face of life-threatening illness. However, nothing of this sort seems to be happening in this case, and the call for an investigation has obvious merit. I encourage readers to take a look at the issues, and consider signing the petition.