Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Recommendations issued on controversial 'Ashley' procedure for disabled children

Date:
November 30, 2010
Source:
The Hastings Center
Summary:
Should parents be able to use medical means to restrict the growth of profoundly disabled children to make them easier to care for at home? A working group convened to discuss the ethical and policy considerations of "growth attenuation" proposes some guidelines in a new article. Personal essays -- including those of parents whose children cannot walk or speak -- accompany the article.

Should parents be able to use medical means to restrict the growth of profoundly disabled children to make them easier to care for at home? A working group convened to discuss the ethical and policy considerations of "growth attenuation" proposes some guidelines in an article in the Hastings Center Report. Personal essays -- including those of parents whose children cannot walk or speak -- accompany the article.

Related Articles


Growth attenuation is the use of estrogen supplements to restrict a child's growth. Debate has raged since 2006, when the first case of the procedure came to light involving Ashley, a 6-year-old girl with profound developmental disabilities who underwent growth attenuation in Seattle Children's Hospital at the request of her parents.

The justification was that growth attenuation would enable Ashley's parents to more easily move her, dress her, and involve her in family gatherings. But the intervention drew strong criticisms, particularly from disability rights and family support groups, who compared it to involuntary sterilization and other horrific treatments inflicted on disabled people throughout history, ostensibly for both individual and social benefit.

The Seattle Growth Attenuation and Ethics Working Group consisted of 20 people, including Erik Parens, senior research scholar at The Hastings Center, as well as pediatricians, lawyers, and philosophers with diverse perspectives and experiences on disability issues. A few were directly involved in the Ashley case, and nearly half either have severely disabled family members or are severely disabled themselves.

The group could not reach consensus, but it did reach a compromise: "growth attenuation can be an ethically acceptable decision because the benefits and risks are similar to those associated with other decisions that parents make for their profoundly disabled children and about which reasonable people disagree."

The group stressed the importance of having safeguards in place, such as eligibility criteria, a thorough decision-making process, and the involvement of ethics consultants or committees. Growth attenuation should be considered only for children who are nonambulatory and have persistent, profound developmental disabilities -- about 4,000 such children are born each year in the United States. The decision-making process should begin with a competent evaluation of the child's condition by general pediatricians and various specialists, who can also assess the prospects for improvement.

In addition, clinicians should give parents information about the anticipated benefits and risks to the child, and about alternative options for including the child in family activities. As part of the information-gathering process, the group agreed "that parents should be given the opportunity to talk with other parents of profoundly disabled children in order to dispel any myths or assumptions about what life with a maturing child with profound developmental disabilities would be like."

The November-December 2010 issue of the Hastings Center Report can be found at: http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Publications/HCR/Default.aspx?id=4968


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Hastings Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Hastings Center. "Recommendations issued on controversial 'Ashley' procedure for disabled children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130161527.htm>.
The Hastings Center. (2010, November 30). Recommendations issued on controversial 'Ashley' procedure for disabled children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130161527.htm
The Hastings Center. "Recommendations issued on controversial 'Ashley' procedure for disabled children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130161527.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins