Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In 2004, disabled girl's parents agree to her hysterectomy, breast surgery

I remember reading about this I don’t know how long ago.

Ashley, a 10 year old girl with a severe case of cerebral palsy that leaves her completely dependent on caretakers, underwent a hysterectomy and breast surgery in 2004 in order to keep her small. Her parents, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed to the surgeries because they felt that it would provide their daughter with the best possible life. She would remain small, and easier to care for, and she would not have to experience the pains caused by menstruation.

When Ashley’s parents went public with their decision, it caused an uproar.

“When Ashley was 6, her parents approached Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, for the operations. They believed this would make it easier to cuddle and carry a child who can do little more than lie propped on a pillow.

…In May 2007, Children's Hospital admitted it broke state law by giving Ashley a hysterectomy without a proper court review. To perform any such treatment today would require a court order, as well as review by a panel of experts in medicine and ethics and people with disabilities, says Dr. Douglas Diekema of Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, the consulting ethicist on Ashley's case.”

Arthur Caplan, the chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, had this to say:

"I think mutilating surgery involving removal of breast buds is indefensible under any circumstances. Growth retardation is not a substitute for adequate home aides and home assistance."

What do you guys think?


Colt said...

People should mind there own business.

Kate said...

I remember hearing about this last year, and it really made me uncomfortable. To not allow a girl to become a woman was a very horrifying idea, espically if it was only to convinence her parents. I still really don't know what to think about his.

Also, how do you become an "ethicist"?

Anonymous said...

If people disapprove so much, they can joyfully contribute a few million dollars that it will cost to pay a caretaker to look after this girl. How many dissenters have ever tried to lift up an adult woman, yank down her pants, and stop the massive blood flow? Pads would be a poor choice for someone who lies down, tampons would be akin to rape... any suggestions?