Ethics

AshleyMarch 2012 update on concerns about the rising use of the “Ashley treatment.”

Controversy Erupts Over Medical Intervention to Keep a Child with Developmental Disabilities Small — January, 2007

When she was six, Ashley’s parents requested that their daughter be treated with large doses of estrogen to halt her physical growth, and with surgeries to remove her breasts and uterus. These interventions were undertaken at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Washington, School of Medicine in Seattle, after consultations with the medical center’s ethics committee. An article about the case appeared in the October 2006 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (160:1077-1078) and MSNBC first reported the story on November 1, 2006. Ashley is now nine years old, with an expected final height of 4’5″ and a weight of 75 pounds. The physicians involved with Ashley’s care have expressed the opinion that she will never achieve a cognitive level greater than that of a three-month old. Ashley’s parents, who call her their “Pillow Angel” (see their blog at http://ashleytreatment.spaces.live.com/blog/), argue that they can care for her more easily if she remains permanently small, and that she as well as they will benefit from these medical interventions. The case was reported by the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, CNN, and many other media outlets on January 4, and it has since raised a firestorm of debate.

Leading disability rights organizations speak out about the “Ashley Treatment”

News media reports

Children’s Hospital Failed to Follow State Law

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