‘The Battle for Justina Pelletier': Docuseries Looks at Legal Saga Over Health Care

Director David Metzler discusses his documentary about Justina Pelletier, who was a teenager when she became the center of a highly-publicized dispute between her family and Boston Children's Hospital in 2013

NBC Universal, Inc.

Justina Pelletier's legal case may have ended in 2020, when she and her family lost a civil suit against Boston Children's Hospital, but the fight for the Connecticut woman, now 23 years old, to stay healthy continues.

"My understanding now is that she's recovering well," said John Martin of Keches Law Group, Pelletier's attorney. "She's happy, she's healthy, and she's doing better, but she certainly continues to face very significant mental and emotional trauma."

Pelletier, her family and Martin are all featured in a new Peacock documentary, "The Battle for Justina Pelletier."

The four-part docuseries chronicles Pelletier's mysterious health issues that landed her in Boston Children's Hospital in 2013.

"The doctors at Boston Children's were concerned about issues of Munchausen by proxy and medical child abuse," said David Metzler, the director of the docuseries.

The state took custody of Justina, then just a child, for more than a year.

"There was a lot of protests, one of which was launched by Anonymous and a guy named Marty Gottesfeld, who attacked the Boston Children's Hospital server in protest and took it down," said Metzler.

Metzler, a Massachusetts native, heard about the story from a friend.

"We felt like it was it was a good story to tell," he said. "It had a lot of important issues at the center of it, and just a lot of fascinating characters."

The family was on board.

"We wanted to make sure it was a real, legitimate story that handled a very serious issue in a very serious way," said Martin.

Boston Children's Hospital commented on the docuseries.

"We strive to act in the best interest of every child who comes to us for care, as we did with Justina Pelletier," the hospital said. "The jury’s decision affirmed what we have always believed: that our clinicians provided Justina high quality, compassionate care, and acted in the best interest of her health and well-being at all times."

Metzler says he hopes viewers can see both sides after watching the series.

"It would be my hope that people can watch it and see it with empathy -- empathy towards everybody involved," he said. "And hopefully what comes through is that there's a lot more to a story that sounds wild in the news. There's a lot of very human pieces to it."

Contact Us