has the story of a single mother of a 14-year-old with cerebral palsy who wants her daughter to have a hysterectomy
. She is fully supportive of Ashley's parents, who appear to have set off the debate that they wanted.
We are in danger of emotionalism overtaking sound medical judgments and ethical reasoning. We all empathize with parents caring for disabled children. I have cared for a developmentally disabled man with grand mal epilepsy (the best human being I have ever met), so I am well aware of some of the issues involved. But does a non therapeutic surgery suddenly become therapeutic if the patient is disabled? Is it ever really right to risk life by taking out healthy organs for non medical reasons? And I repeat the question: Should disabled boys be castrated to keep them from maturing sexually if it will make them easier to care for?
And if it's okay for cognitively and developmentally disabled children, what about the elderly who lose their capacities? Should we also perform non therapeutic procedures to give them a "better quality of life?" I mean, should we break the legs of Alzheimer's patients to keep them from wandering?
This situation needs cooler heads.