Dr. Alice Newton, Director of Boston Children's Hospital child protection team, determined in February 2013 that the institution's newly-admitted patient, Justina Pelletier, was a victim of medical child abuse.
Those unfamiliar with this terminology might think that a doctor or doctors had provided injurious care. In one respect they would be correct but the most important aspect of the charge is that the parents or the child's caregiver were the instigators. The psychiatric community posits that some guardians create disease symptoms to persuade the medical community to act inappropriately.
The medical child abuse allegation is specious but it is the basis for child custody hearings and suspension of parental rights throughout the country. Because many adjudicators, like Judge Johnston, gag order the proceedings the number of children taken from parents remains confidential.