The disability rights community is making things hot for the doctors who took out Ashley's uterus, cut off her breast buds, and subjected her to two years of hormone injections to keep her small. Complaints are being filed, calls for investigations being made. From the AP story
"Activists are demanding an investigation into treatment performed on a severely brain-damaged girl whose growth was deliberately stunted to make it easier for her parents to care for her at home."Critics want an official condemnation from the American Medical Association, which owns a medical journal that first published the Washington state case. They also want state and federal officials to investigate whether doctors violated the girl's rights. 'It is unethical and unacceptable to perform intrusive and invasive medical procedures on a person or child with a disability simply to make the person easier to care for,' said Steven Taylor, director of Syracuse University's Center on Human Policy. Taylor said that the treatment was essentially a medical experiment and that a hospital institutional review board should have been consulted beforehand."
Doctors who performed the medical interventions, naturally, disagree: "The girl's doctors at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle described the case in October's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Richard Molteni, the hospital's medical director, said there was no need to consult an institutional review board because Ashley's case was not an experiment. He said the hospital firmly believes it acted in her best interest. The decision to proceed was 'thoroughly reviewed by a wide range of medical and surgical specialists, including neurologists, development specialists and ethicists,' Molteni said."
Independent investigations are being called for. That seems appropriate, it seems to me. With the parents urging others to pursue "Ashley's Treatment" and the doctors unrepentant, a thorough look into the case and the ethical appropriateness of such "care" is entirely the appropriate way to go. Post Script:
The case has apparently been written up in a medical journal by the doctors involved. As soon as I can obtain a copy, I will comment upon it here at Secondhand Smoke.