One year later. 4’5” tall. 63 pounds. Growth has stopped. "Ashley did not grow in height or weight in the last year, she will always be flat-chested, and she will never suffer any menstrual pain, cramps or bleeding," say her parents. That’s because she had a hysterectomy, her breast buds removed, and will take drugs for the rest of her life to keep her from growing. Her growth plates are permanently closed, and all this treatment has taken about a foot off her anticipated height. Ashley X. is 10 years old.
According to her parents, Ashley’s current state is a definition of success. Success for whom I am compelled to ask.
According to an interview Ashley’s parents did for CNN (via email only to protect their identities), “Ashley is now and will always be dependent on us in every aspect of her life: On an hourly basis we give her a position change and prop her back on her pillow; we make sure she is well covered and pull her shirt down to cover her tummy; we wipe her drool, etc. Also there are diaper changes, tube feedings, dressing, bathing, teeth cleaning, stretching, entertainment, etc.” Again I am compelled to ask, “So…? I believe all those things are covered in a parent's job description.”
The CNN interview reports 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. Yet another compelling questions pops into my mind – so this surgery was done at least in part to make life easier for the parents. Eh?
Here are a few more facts surrounding this so-called treatment:
- It’s against the law
- The endocrinologist who participated in the treatment has committed suicide. The parents say it’s because he was so committed to helping other families the way he “helped” theirs, but he was thwarted by the law and opponents to the treatment.
- Ashley’s parents remain convinced that what they did was the most loving choice they could have made for their daughter.
- Ethicists believe that the "Ashley treatment" is a violation of not only human dignity, but also of a physician's oath to do no harm.
- Ashley’s parents want to help parents of other “pillow angels” understand their choices for their children
How do I feel? Well, here are links to previous blogs I have written about Ashley X. My feelings have not changed. I am outraged and appalled by what these parents did.
A Tale of Two Ashleys
A Tale of Two Ashley's continued
Here also is a link to the CNN story and to the interview with the parents.
And a link to the parents' website...