September 26, 2022

‘Pillow angel’ treatment a success, say parents

‘Pillow angel’ treatment a success, say parents

Ashley XA year has passed since the Ashley X controversy, but the parents of the severely retarded girl still passionately defend the growth-stunting medical treatment which will keep her a "pillow angel" for ever. The girl, from the American state of Washington, is supposed to have the mental capacity of a 6-month-old. In 2004 her parents brought her to a Seattle hospital where she had a hysterectomy, breast surgery and drug treatment to keep her small enough to cuddle and carry. When the news surfaced in the media, it sparked debate around the world. Her parents still insist that they had a "sacred duty to do what we believe is right for our children". Many others who cared for children like Ashley agreed.

However, according to a CNN retrospective, it is unlikely that doctors will be repeating the "Ashley treatment". Last year the hospital admitted that a hysterectomy without a proper court review was illegal. Ashley’s endocrinologist also committed suicide, an event which is thought to be unrelated to the controversy, but which has coloured perceptions. And many doctors and disability activists feel strongly that it was the wrong decision. "I think mutilating surgery involving removal of breast buds is indefensible under any circumstances," says prominent bioethicist Arthur Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania. "Growth retardation is not a substitute for adequate home aides and home assistance." ~ CNN.com,Mar 12