The Ashley treatment

Ireland
January 5, 2007 12:52am CST
In the news this week is the so called Ashley treatment. This treatment of a mentally handicapped girl in The US has sparked quite a bit of controversy. Ashley is 9 years old and has the mental age of a three months old baby. It basically means that she cannot move or communicate. The girl has now undergone an operation to remove her uterus and her appendix. Also is she being given medication and hormones to stop her breasts from developing and to stunt her growth. According to her parents this will greatly improve the quality of her life. She will remain small so it will be easier for her caretakers to envolve her in family activities. She will not have the discomfort of a menstrual cycle. On the other hand some people are outraged about what they call a form of 'child engineering'. I would be interested to hear your opinions!
4 people like this
12 responses
@tigrashadow (1088)
• Australia
5 Jan 07
i only just heard this on the news tonight and i notice that even the mendical ethicists agree with this particular situation as it wont hinder her the quality of life she would have had without all the treatments... it does sound terrible though when they say it is easier on the caregivers but because she is bedbound anyway, it it a little logical that the smaller and lighter she is, she may not have as many discomforts without discussing it with health care professionals and others who would be involved in something like this, i dont really feel i can comment but i dont think this should be the start of a trend to do this to disabled or handicapped children. each situation needs to be studied for its own individual details...
2 people like this
• Ireland
5 Jan 07
The treatment was done in hospital after the parents had convinced the ethics board there that the child would benefit. I have seen comments from people envolved with mentally handicapped children and they are very much opposed as a matter of principle. Someone said this unnecessary treatment was to compensate for a lack of practical and financial support from the government and that this should therefor not be allowed. Should governments do more?
@amafrias (456)
• United States
5 Jan 07
After reading Ashley's story http://ashleytreatment.spaces.live.com/blog I too would have done the same thing. There is no hope whatsoever for her to improve, and it owuld be a burden on the child to have to go through the changes she would have normally gone through. For her to live out the remainder of her life in as much peace and happiness as she can is right to me. Please read her story, it is a sweet, sweet story.
• United States
6 Jan 07
I know because I started this same discussion 1 day ago I agree with the parents.
• Ireland
6 Jan 07
Thanks for your response. I have seen interviews with people who are afraid this could be the start of other parents changing their kids, even if they are not so severely handicapped.
6 Jan 07
I think that since the medical resources exist to give Ashley the most comfortable life possible they should be used, and the treatment extended to any other child that needs it. Yes, there is something intrinisically disturbing about such major surgery being done on a child to prevent her 'growing up', but it is no more disturbing than the fact that her brain will never develop. Ashley will have a better life as a result of this and isn't that all that matters? If people think this is horrifying, think how much more horrifying it would be if someone who was mentally a baby was raped and became pregnant. And yes, those things do go on in institutions because there are some very sick people about, much sicker than loving parents who only want the best for their child.
@melody1011 (1665)
• India
6 Jan 07
I guess a child or human with the mental capacity of a 2-3 month old would not really know what is going on, but would get confused and maybe even scared when unknown things happen to her. Just like a baby gets frightened when their schedule is disrupted, this child too will feel the same. Trying to keep her from the growing pains and knowing that she will never feel them emotionally or mentally is worse than letting her remain a baby so that her life can be less disruptive. But thats just how I feel.
• United States
6 Jan 07
when I read something about this topic in another discussion earlier I did not agree with what her parents did, but now after reading their story and finding out the whole cause and effect I have a different opinion and I agree with them in the "Ashley Treatment" I feel that this may be beneficial for her, but would not reccomend it be done on all children with mental and physial disabilities.
@thekiwi (588)
• United States
6 Jan 07
it sounds horrible, honestly! But i think i would have done the same thing if i were her parent...:(
@resasour (378)
• United States
6 Jan 07
I read the entire article on yahoo, and then went to the family website and read that. I think they did the right thing. She is expected to live a full term life span, but her mind and bodily functions are that of a 3 month old infant and will never improve. They did the right thing for her and for them.
@bindishah (2063)
• India
6 Jan 07
This is the first time Im hearing of this and quite frankly ti appalls me. Even though she has the mental capacity of 3 months she is stilla girl of 9. They should not strip her of what little feminity she can develop cause with the way science is going now a cure can be possible in the near future. Lots of advancements are being made and even if she can get cured when she is 20 she wont have any of her normal body organs. That would just end up making life difficult for her. I strongly believe that nature should not be played with and she should live with the organs she was born with/expected to have.
• Canada
6 Jan 07
I think this kind of modification of another human's body is against nature. It would be bad enough if one did it to herself, but to do it to another human?
@mansha (6301)
• India
6 Jan 07
I have worked with the differently abled kids and I really know what her parents must be going through. She is a severly retarded kid and sure its better this way. People who are critcising them are not living their life and are not wearing their shoes. It is as it is really difficult to care for a child with disability when he could move but to take care of such child like ashley will keep on becoming more tedious as she grows up. I think they did the right thing.
• India
6 Jan 07
I remember reading this in news, I was very upset when I read it initially. But later realized that it was for the benefit of all. But I admit the method is definitely highly innovative.
@chanfrado (1166)
• Portugal
6 Jan 07
If the treatment is really better for the girl, I think they are doing the right thing. They are her parents, so I think all they want is her to feel good ( if it is possible with her condition ).