Justina-pelletier_2Justina-pelletier_2Perhaps you have heard or read about a young woman named Justina Pelletier.  She is still a teenager. She is not intellectually disabled though the young woman was diagnosed in 2011 with mitochondrial disease.  This is a disease in which the mitochondria (the energy-producing organelle in cells) does not function properly.  The symptoms of the disease include pain, fatigue and gastrointestinal issues.

Through a complicated series of events, Ms. Pelletier became a ward of the State of Massachusetts primarily because of a clause in the Boston Children’s Hospitals Policies and Procedures.

The hospital’s clinical investigations policy states (emphasis added):

Children who are Wards of the state may be included in research that presents greater than minimal risk with no prospect of direct benefit (46.406 (50.53) or 46.407 ( 50.54) only if the [institutional review board] determines and documents that such research is

Related to their status as wards; or

Conducted in schools, camps, hospital, institutions, or similar settings in which the majority of children involved as participant.

Pelletier_1While no charges of neglect have ever been charged against Jennifer’s parents, after she was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital, she became a ward of the State of Massachusetts.  The parents no longer have any say in her treatment or where she is placed.  The parents do not know if she is part of any research projects.  For a time, they were not given visitation rights.

Jennifer was taken off of her medications.  When the parents saw her decline after being taken off the meds, the parents asked that she be put back on the medications that were helping her.  They reported that they were told that if they put Jennifer back on her medication, they would be charged with child abuse for giving her an excess of drugs.

In a meeting in October of 2013, ministry leaders from all over the country and Canada came for a day to sharing and prayer.  To a person, every leader came with one concern. What is going to happen to the people within the mentally challenged community when financial collapse happens in the US? Our members are financially and professionally tied to the state and federal governments.

I’ve never been  a prophet of despair.  However, this was a warning signal that even I could not ignore.  It may be time to prepare for the future of our friends and members who are intellectually disabled by storing up massive containers of prayer in the deposits of heaven.  The promises of God are that he will help the weak and take care of the wounded.  However, even recent history tells us that this vulnerable population has been a prime target for abuse.

The Lord uses men and women to do his work here on earth.  We are his hands and feet.  We need godly wisdom to know what our part will be in the future; and what our action should be today.

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