At Parents' Request And Ethics Panel Approval, Doctors Deliberately
Stunted Six-Year-Old's Growth
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 2, 2006
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON--Arguing that caring for a child with severe disabilities can be more difficult as they age and grow, the parents of a six-year-old girl with developmental disabilities convinced doctors at the University of Washington to give her massive dosages of estrogen to stop her from developing.
The girl's treatment, which also included a hysterectomy, was approved by a university ethics panel, and was revealed this week in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
The parents had said that keeping their daughter's body small would enable them to better take care of her at home.
Dr. Daniel F. Gunther, who is with the university's Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, and Douglas S. Diekema, at the Center for Pediatric Bioethics, said they hoped their research would generate a healthy debate on the issue.
"If growth could be permanently arrested while the child was still small, both child and parent would likely benefit because this would facilitate the option of continued care in the home," they reasoned in their report.
"Should severely disabled children be kept small?" (Reuters)
"Abstract--Attenuating Growth in Children With Profound Developmental Disability" (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine)
"Disability Advocates Respond To "Ashley Treatment" Designed To Keep Girl Small" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)