The ‘Ashley Treatment’

Biomedical Ethics has always intrigued me.  This groundbreaking case has shocked and amazed me.  When I mentioned it to one of my professors, he exclaimed: “THIS HAPPENED IN AMERICA?” 

Ashley is a 9 year old girl with static encephalopathy, an idiopathic condition that renders her permananently disabled.  Her doctors removed her breasts, uterus, and ovaries at the request of her parents.  They also used high-dose estrogen to force her growth plates to fuse and stop the growth of long bones.

Many people are outraged, accusing the parents of orchestrating the treatment to maintain a more “portable and manageable” child. 

Her parents claim that the treatment was done to decrease Ashley’s discomfort by eliminating menstrual cramps and bedsores.  They also claim that there is a family history of breast cancer, but there is no mention of BRCA testing.

Here’s a link to the story on CNN.

Here’s a link to the family’s blog.

What do you think?  Please comment below…