Boston Children’s Hospital: Example of Bad Medicine


Sean and Jessica Hilliard sit with their son, Gabriel Hilliard, as Hilliard’s sister, Jill Shriver, holds a picture of Eithene. (Photo credit: Jessica Hilliard)
Sean and Jessica Hilliard sit with their son, Gabriel Hilliard, as Hilliard’s sister, Jill Shriver, holds a picture of Eithene. (Photo credit: Jessica Hilliard)

Boston Children’s Hospital: Do Boston Children’s Hospital staff Lack Of Conflict Resolution Skills?

Boston Children’s Hospital: Do Boston Children’s Hospital staff Lack Conflict Resolution Skills?

The recent spate in parentectomies signaled red flags. Could be a lack of people skills or conflict resolution skills? Whatever the deficiency, this is bad leadership, bad culture, and bad medicine.

The article, Exposed, implies trained pediatricians at Children’s Hospital in Boston cannot conceive alternative strategies to manage patients and their disgruntled families, other than permanent silence and parentectomy. Is this poor training? Is this poor leadership? Is this research to get money?

Boston Children’s Hospital seized children then escorted parents. Their patients’, advocates,  off the hospital grounds over a dispute in treatment plan. The story changes, but basically Boston Children Hospital appears to hide under the new DSM 5 lowered threshold for diagnosis of Somatoform disorders. In over 20 years of practice, I personally only entertained this diagnosis once or twice – emphasis on entertaining, never made the diagnosis. Even if I had. the treatment does not include separation from loved ones.

Here is my confusion; Who has a psychiatric problem, Justina or her parents? The term parentectomy implies the child’s psychiatric issues are parent generated. Even so, as pediatricians, is parentectomy the only treatment option at Boston Children’s Hospital? Such a well-respected and formerly pre-eminent hospital on the leading edge  does not have  collaborative strategies to engage parents, guide them to the best course of treatment.


How did Boston Children’s Hospital and MA imprison a child for 13 months? The actions of doctors in this medical institution run counter to everything that has been taught in training. It violates the very principle of medicine – do no harm. How could this plan of action be in Justina’s best interest?

The picture emerging from Boston Children’s Hospital’s actions is frightening for patient care. Hospital administrators play very dirty; they will defame and mischaracterize to conceal and rationalize their behaviors in a few of the many medical charts generated as part of their risk management strategy.

Actions by Boston Children’s Hospital lack logic and sound judgement. BCH counted on the stupidity of those who oversee and the complacency of others in the medical field. Boston Children’s Hospital’s bullying is unequivocally wrong and calls for further investigation by the FBI as felonies have been committed with severe casualties.


Quality of care, ethics, and legal grounds should prompt a courageous voice with authority to end a 13-month nightmare at Boston Children’s Hospital. Lets try to understand Boston Children’s Hospital’s illogical actions. The treatment of so-called Somatoform Disorders and even Münchausen syndrome is not parentectomy. There are no studies documenting seizure of minors by hospitals and removal of parents as effective treatment. There are numerous reports of medical abuse where patients are abused, misdiagnosed and treated with experimental drugs under the watchful purview of the Hospital’s Internal Review Board.

“In another case, the hospital tried to take custody of Jessica Hilliard’s son Gabriel, who was being treated for mitochondrial disease. Hilliard said: “The fact that [Boston] Children has so much power that they can get us in trouble with a totally different hospital across the city is appalling.”

Boston Children’s Hospital and its representatives refuse to comment on any specific cases, but maintain that decisions are made in the child’s best interest in every case.

At one time, medicine sounded the trumpet towards patient-centered care. ACA heralded a now fading buzz around patient participation, patient advocacy and even talk of patient controlled

research—the idea that patients could become responsible for the business of their care. What happened?

Could the Justina Pelletier case have been handled differently? Without a doubt!  The alarming fact is that she is not the only child removed from parents under the psychiatric umbrella—a disturbing pattern from a respected hospital. As a medical student, I learned such heavy-handed authoritarian approaches were discouraged, considered counter-productive to health and the well-being of patients. Is that no longer taught?

Seizing a child and then physically removing their parents causes adversarial relationships—a breach of trust. Seizing a child for 13 months is exceptional and will be entered in the medical books as one of the worst ethical violations.

Why is Justina still in custody after 13 months? It is difficult for an acutely suicidal patient to get a hospital bed; let alone stay 3 days. In this century, thirteen months as a ward of the state is a precedent. Cannons should have been heard 13 months ago. What happened here? Where is the leadership?

Time in captivity should raise eyebrows—nationally and internationally!



Articles of Other Boston Children’s Hospital Parentectomy:

1. Exposed: Boston Hospital Takes Custody Of MULTIPLE Children Against Parents’ Will –

2. One of the Best Hospitals in the Country Is Accused of Doing One of the Worst Things Imaginable to Families…Again –


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

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