While the parents of Justina Pelletier await a judge's decision on whether or not the girl will remain in custody of Boston Children's Hospital, the number of people protesting the hospital's actions is decreasing. It's about time, too, because the final decision is just about a week away. When this is all said and done, it's hopeful that everyone who took unnecessary interest in the case will just go about their lives and worry about their own children -- as it seems the majority of people expressing "outrage" are parents who refer to themselves as "mito mommies."
Mito moms are simply parents of children with mitochondrial disease. While it's safe to say that most parents of children afflicted with this condition are too busy caring for their children to care about this case, there are still quite a few who have taken it upon themselves to act as experts for this case -- when they truly don't know the facts. In fact, none of us know the facts. There is a gag order on this case and neither Tufts or the Boston Children's Hospital have been able to answer questions.
It's fortunate to see the decline in "mito mommies" taking interest in this case, though, and the decrease is very apparent. The most recent protest against the Boston Children's Hospital proved that, even though coordinators want to blame it on the weather. It's clear that more people are accepting the fact that none of us know enough to produce such crazed reactions to a case that doesn't concern us. This is a situation between Justina Pelletier's family and the BCH. The media and the poorly informed public should have never been involved.
In one week, it is hopeful that good sense and medical fact prevails. If this teen is truly suffering from any somatoform spectrum disorder, then she needs help without the uproar caused by this media circus. By then there will likely be no more protestors left, as more people realize that they don't have all the details on this case.
As for the overzealous groups on the internet who are still obsessing over this case: They are not medical experts. These groups mostly comprise of parents who only have the "expertise" of raising their own children. These people are not qualified to debate or discuss this mentally ill teen's case because they are no more informed than anyone else in the public -- and it will definitely remain that way as long as there is a gag order on this case. These parental interest groups come in all shapes and sizes, and when the internet is concerned they are usually very rabid and forceful about trying to "change minds." They are truly best ignored.
And what advice can be offered to these overzealous groups on the internet who wish to force discussions about this topic? This isn't about being educated in mitochondrial disease, nor is it about being educated in somatoform disorders (of which there are numerous types). It's about realizing that nobody on the outside knows the facts of this particular case. If you don't know all the facts, then it's simply false to accuse the hospital of child abduction, and it is false to accuse them of misdiagnosing on a second opinion.
Click here to read more by Chelsea Hoffman or fan her Facebook page to follow her latest projects. If you’re interested in learning about criminal profiling, missing persons or serial killers, consider enrolling in the Crime Studies class taught by crime analyst and profiler Chelsea Hoffman! You can also check out her Ask.Fm page.