Archive for the 'Ethics' Category

Medical Treatment Keeps Ashley Child-sized

Most people, no doubt, when they espouse human rights, make their own mental reservations about the proper application of the word ‘human.'”–Suzanne Lafollette

I don’t know how many of you have read or heard about Ashley. She is a mentally and physically disabled child now in the spotlight for the surgical procedures performed on her to keep her child-sized for life. The nine-year-old’s parents decided to stunt her growth and remove her womanly organs in order to give her the most comfortable and best qualitative life possible. The young girl has what’s known as static encephalopathy. Her brain is therefore unchanging, it is static. The brain has not matured past the capabilities of a three-month-old in Ashley’s nine years of living.

Is this ethical? I will boldly and proudly say, yes it is. It is ethical to utilize medicine for the benefit of your child. In Ashley’s case, her brain damage is so severe that she will not be able to talk or walk. Many people do not understand this. They are not informed on just how severe static encephalopathy is, or even what it is. A commentor, by the name of Carla Pinder writes the following on the article about Ashley:

I find this the most outrageous invasion of the rights of a HUMAN BEING. I cannot belive that in this day and age of medical, technical, and equipment advnced way of life that the parents and doctors could not find a more humaine and dignified way to to care for this child then to remove a part of HER body. If this child seems so unable to communicate how do the parents and doctors know what she may or may not feel or understand or want for HER life.

First of all the rights of Ashley as a human being have never been underestimated. That is why her parents chose to give her a good life. They are treating her as a human being, caring for her rather than throwing their hands up and saying, “well, looks like we can’t do anything for her.” Secondly, yes in this “day and age of medical, thecnical, and equipment advanced way of life” the way they chose to take care of there child is the most dignified. Medical advances do just that, right? They make human suffering lesser, they make for a more comfortable life. How could her parents be criticized for doing what’s in the best interest of a young baby. Finally, the tragedy is that she is “so unable to communicate.” She is a three-month-old baby, her cognitive skills are not developed, she can not tell, show, or even blink to her parents what she wants. This is what she can do as a three-month-old, just to clarify:

Simple reflex activity such as grasping, sucking.


This is the extent of Ashley’s cognitive skills. Then I read this, “Well, what if she wants to have children one day! Then what!” Excuse me, but here are two loving parents trying to keep their child in the best care possible and here is someone uninformatively complaining about Ashley wanting children. People don’t understand that her disability would not even allow her to understand or think of what a child is, let alone have one.

Ashley must be a joy to her parents. Her life is no fairytale, and her parents understand that. I commend her parents for understanding what reality is. I commend them for weighing the positives and the negatives when making the decision to go forth with this kind of decision.

This is just a family in the end, a family that had to make a decision. Yes, it was a surgical procedure and yes they utilized medicine rationally all in the hopes that their baby girl could live the best life she could. Ashley’s life is unfortanetely and sadly stunted already by her mental disability, her parents have complied to this reality. They gave their daughter the best life she could have. I’m sure any parent willing to go to hundreds of doctors would make a similar well-informed and compassionate decision.

After writing this I see one final truth that remains. People love to judge others on their actions. I’m doing just that, but in any light, I am just glad that her parents did something to take care of her. I am glad that they utilized medicine, just as parents of a child with cancer would utilize treatments to make their children live better lives. Ultimately, letting Ashley grow and go through puberty would almost be–and this is strong–but it would be more like neglect.

The Human Element by Ashley’s Parents: love. Share your thoughts, please.