Hospital admits breaking law... (CTV)

  1. I tried to find a thread on the board about this topic and couldn't. But I thought it might provoke some discussion...

    Hospital admits breaking law in sterilizing girl

    Updated Wed. May. 9 2007 2:16 PM ET

    Associated Press

    SEATTLE -- A hospital has acknowledged breaking state law when doctors performed a hysterectomy on a severely developmentally disabled girl whose growth was medically stunted to make caring for her easier for her parents.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew..._name=&no_ads=
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew..._name=&no_ads=
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew...509?hub=Health


    The parents have a blog about what they're calling "Ashley's Treatment".
    http://ashleytreatment.spaces.live.com/blog/

    The whole thing makes me want to
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   RN1121
    HMMM... This is certainly one for a debate. Not sure what exactly I think of it. I suppose that the fact they did it for "convenience" is ethically not right. It's obvious that she would never go on to have children anyway, BUT to subject her to that unnecessary surgery? Who is it really benefitting? The child or the parents?
  4. by   tridil2000
    Quote from RN1121
    HMMM... This is certainly one for a debate. Not sure what exactly I think of it. I suppose that the fact they did it for "convenience" is ethically not right. It's obvious that she would never go on to have children anyway, BUT to subject her to that unnecessary surgery? Who is it really benefitting? The child or the parents?


    i don't think it was the concern of pregnancy, but the issue of monthly bleeding that concerned them

    i understand why they did what they did.

    once, i had a mentally challenged girl in the er. she was about 25. she had her period. this poor girl, who was overweight, saw the blood on her legs and freaked. she wouldn't wear underwear, never mind a pad! she didn't understand. she wanted to be naked and there were clots dripping down her legs when she stood up! it was a scene! i tried relentlessly with her caregiver to get her to cover herself, to no avail.

    we eventually put an iv in and sedated her. she was discharged home after several hours, where i'm sure this continued.

    is this anyway to live month after month, year after year either?
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    there was a thread on this when it was made public, last year i think

    i think it was not so much 'convenience' as being able to keep the child at home, we don't know what decisions we will make until we are faced with them...if they had dumped the girl in a facility there is no reason to believe that she would have received better care
  6. by   kcalohagirl
    This is a case I've been following since it was first brought to my attention. The earlier articles I read stated that the parents had wanted the surgery so that the child would stay small, easy to manage, and remain their "pillow angel". (Their words)

    This statement makes it seem like they were doing it for their convenience, not to save their daughter discomfort. I'll see if I can find the links to those articles.
  7. by   vonxojn
    This artice is very interesting. I don't know exactly how to feel about it. I also have a child with a disability-Cerebral Palsy. She can't walk, feed herself, dress herself, toilet or just hold things in her hands. I too have been faced with the fact that she's 12 now and is almost as tall as I am. I'm 5'6. As each year goes by her body gets longer and heavier. I don't know if in my later years if I'll be able to handle her as well. Yes it would be easier to have her "smaller" in size to take care of her and to not put unnessary harm to my own body while caring for her. I would never put her in a facility and bringing people into my home to care for her is not foreseen in the near or distant future. I can understand the parents rational but I don't think I would have done the procedure. But whose to say what we would have done if we are never faced with the same problems. Caring for a child with a disability is not easy at times and can be very frustrating. If you do not have a child with disabilities and do not have to go through the everyday struggles of being that parent of a child with disabilities...who r u to judge?
    There r children with disabilities in the foster care system. No one is jumping up to ask to adopt them. I applaud parents who raise their child with disabilities. It's a lot easier to just give up and give them away than it is to keep them. You have to have a very special heart to look at that child and see that child, not the disabilities.
    With children with disabilities...Everybody has an opinion on how ur child should be raised BUT never have a hand in the raising. Go Figure...
  8. by   CHATSDALE
    (((((vonxojn)))))
  9. by   Soup Turtle
    I think it should be between the parents and the doctor. It may be more convenient for the parents, but I think the child will benefit, as well. She'll be able to be cared for, by her parents, at home, for a longer period of time.
  10. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    My severely handicapped son is celebrating his 24th birthday today. Physically he is a man in every way. We care for him at home without help from anyone. We have never, ever considered surgical intervention of this type to make life easier for us. The only related surgery he has had was a tendon release 12 years ago to allow him to wear shoes. He is as tall as I am, and weighs 53 kg.

    Another severely handicapped young man who attends the same day program is 35 years old and almost 6 feet tall. He weighs about 65 kg, and he too is cared for at home by aging parents and his siblings, who love him exactly as he is.

    My feeling is that Ashley was subjected to unnecessary surgical intervention that was both illegal and unethical, for the convenience of her parents. Her cognitive state prevents her from understanding any of it. The family says they want to spare her the discomfort of puberty. I'd like to know how they rationalize away the fact that hysterectomies and mastectomies HURT and they hurt for a while! A child already at risk for osteopenia, obesity and respiratory illnesses is now a sitting duck for osteoporosis and early heart disease. I predict femur and humerus fractures by the time she's 20, no matter how small and easy to move she is.
  11. by   kukukajoo
    I think the parents did what they thought was best. it must be heartbreaking to go though this and even have to think about this as a option, and while I applaud the other posters who have dealt with similar situations without intervention, even though what you have faced is similar I can not look down my nose at them for what they did. Every single case is individual and very personal indeed.
  12. by   subee
    Quote from janfrn
    My severely handicapped son is celebrating his 24th birthday today. Physically he is a man in every way. We care for him at home without help from anyone. We have never, ever considered surgical intervention of this type to make life easier for us. The only related surgery he has had was a tendon release 12 years ago to allow him to wear shoes. He is as tall as I am, and weighs 53 kg.

    Another severely handicapped young man who attends the same day program is 35 years old and almost 6 feet tall. He weighs about 65 kg, and he too is cared for at home by aging parents and his siblings, who love him exactly as he is.

    My feeling is that Ashley was subjected to unnecessary surgical intervention that was both illegal and unethical, for the convenience of her parents. Her cognitive state prevents her from understanding any of it. The family says they want to spare her the discomfort of puberty. I'd like to know how they rationalize away the fact that hysterectomies and mastectomies HURT and they hurt for a while! A child already at risk for osteopenia, obesity and respiratory illnesses is now a sitting duck for osteoporosis and early heart disease. I predict femur and humerus fractures by the time she's 20, no matter how small and easy to move she is.

    That's great that your son had parents like you. Does he have a gag reflex?
    Just because your son is disabled doesn't mean that he shares every commonality with every other disabled person. As for the second young man who is 36 and in the same day care program, its great that his family loves him but what's love got to do with it? Yes, a hysterectomy hurts but it may not "hurt" as much as early institutionalization. Ostopenia is the least of this family's worries. If your son is able to get to a day care program, it strikes me that he relatively "less" disabled that others who can only be transported by ambulette or ambulance. I sense smugness in your opinion - not everyone can be driven to care for a child larger than themselves when that child cannot even turn or swallow on their own. Try to be a little kinder with your edicts.
  13. by   Raeth
    I agree that it's very hard to compare one disabled child/person to another... there is a whole spectrum of issues that need to be looked at. Does it concern me what the parents/doctors did? Yep. Do I think I have any right to say what they did was wrong? Nope. I think it must have been a very difficult decision and I would never want to be in their shoes.

    There is a lot to be said for the fact that this will allow them to care for her at home for a much longer period of time. Also, if she ever does end up in a facility it could possibly have some positive influence on her care. It's not a perfect solution by any means, but I can't imagine anything that would be.

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