Doctor at center of stunting debate kills himself

  1. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21225569...5773?GT1=10514

    "SEATTLE - The doctor at the center of a controversial procedure which stunted the growth of a severely disabled girl has committed suicide.Dr. Daniel F. Gunther died from toxic asphyxia from inhaling car exhaust, said Greg Hewett of the King County Medical Examiner's Office. His time of death was listed as 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 30. The 49-year-old was a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.
    In 2004, Gunther and his colleague Dr. Douglas S. Diekema performed a hysterectomy, removed the breast tissue and started hormone treatment to permanently halt the growth of a 6-year-old disabled girl so her parents could continue to care for her at home. The doctors wrote about the procedure, which was performed at Children's Hospital, in the October 2006 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine."
    The girl, identified only as Ashley, had feeding problems shortly after birth and showed major developmental delays. Her doctors diagnosed her with severe brain damage and don't know what caused it. Her condition has left her in an infant state, unable to sit up, hold a toy or talk. Her mother called Ashley her 'pillow angel' and said the procedure kept her a more manageable and portable size that would allow her family to continue to care for her at home."

    I remember the debates we had here about this procedure, and thought you guys would want to know about Dr. Gunther's suicide.
    Last edit by BBFRN on Oct 10, '07 : Reason: Forgot to add link
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   caroladybelle
    Ohhhh my word!!!!

    You really have to wonder..
  4. by   BBFRN
    Yeah, I wonder it it was guilt, the pressure he received from the medical community, or what? Ashley's parents say they are still grateful to him for allowing them to take care of her at home.

    I never really could decide if what he did was ethical or not. And I wonder if her next MD will continue her hormone Txs.
  5. by   Sabby_NC
    Sounds like the pressures all around were enough for this poor Dr to take his own life. So very sad
  6. by   leslymill
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7032736.stm

    I have been thinking about this article for a few days and decided to post it here after reading of the Seattle Doctor committing suicide in another post. Not an ethical issue for me since I never worked in OR, but it does make you wonder if the mother is seeking easier care for her daughter and not the trauma of trying to explain a menstrual period and the mild pain it causes.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21225569...5773?GT1=10514
  7. by   sirI
    Threads merged.
  8. by   leslymill
    Really doesn't say WHY he killed himself. The family has a website and praises him for all he has done for them.
  9. by   CritterLover
    Quote from leslymill
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7032736.stm

    i have been thinking about this article for a few days and decided to post it here after reading of the seattle doctor committing suicide in another post. not an ethical issue for me since i never worked in or, but it does make you wonder if the mother is seeking easier care for her daughter and not the trauma of trying to explain a menstrual period and the mild pain it causes.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21225569...5773?gt1=10514




    hmmm.

    it is difficult to pass judgement with the information given in the article. (really, difficult to pass judgement off of any information given in an article; i hate going off someone else's interpretation of the facts.)

    but, is there anyone else that is suspect on the parent's reasoning?

    i didn't participate in the original debate over the ashley situation, and i honestly don't know how i feel about the ethics of either situation.

    that being said, my *gut* feeling is that this is more about the possibility of katie getting pregnant, and the difficult situation of katie's emerging sexuality that is behind this, rather than the whole how-to-explain-the-pain-and-the-blood reasoning.

    maybe not. but that was my very first thought when i started reading the article.
  10. by   Grace Oz
    The death of anyone, for whatever reason, is always very sad.
    I feel for his loved ones.
    May he RIP.
  11. by   leslie :-D
    so sad, so tragic.
    hoping he found peace.

    leslie
  12. by   leslymill
    Quote from critterlover
    hmmm.

    it is difficult to pass judgement with the information given in the article. (really, difficult to pass judgement off of any information given in an article; i hate going off someone else's interpretation of the facts.)

    but, is there anyone else that is suspect on the parent's reasoning?

    i didn't participate in the original debate over the ashley situation, and i honestly don't know how i feel about the ethics of either situation.

    that being said, my *gut* feeling is that this is more about the possibility of katie getting pregnant, and the difficult situation of katie's emerging sexuality that is behind this, rather than the whole how-to-explain-the-pain-and-the-blood reasoning.

    maybe not. but that was my very first thought when i started reading the article.
    i have another terrible "gut" feeling, and that is unfortunately because here in america we has so many child sexual preditors. i know that is sad to say....but it is just my gut talking. with ashley the only thing they regretted is they didn't do what they were supposed to,." state law requires a court order before sterilizing a child." not getting more legal support for the sterilization consent. with katie, i think it is a real fear of a "disturbing" precedent for other disabled girls.

    if approved, it will be the first time in the uk a hysterectomy is carried out without it being medically needed. gee .what is the......................best possible life
    i certainly and surely think katie's mother is thinking "how can i take care of her in the long haul?"..., but, unfortunately, ....there is the gut.
  13. by   canoehead
    I can't comment on whether this should be done for all girls but having followed this story I sincerely think everyone involved is trying to put the needs of these particular girls first.

    I am sure the doctors involved were not motivated by anything but their patitents' needs, so if the suicide had anything to do with that controversy it is a crying shame.
  14. by   november17
    Quote from critterlover
    that being said, my *gut* feeling is that this is more about the possibility of katie getting pregnant, and the difficult situation of katie's emerging sexuality that is behind this, rather than the whole how-to-explain-the-pain-and-the-blood reasoning.
    not to dredge up an old debate, but this girl was on the level of an infant and "unable to sit up or even hold a toy."

    i think the least of their worries was her emerging sexuality.

    pregnancy ? yes...unfortunately some caregivers will stoop to that level. i suppose that is a legitimate concern. ever seen that scene in kill bill?

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