Saturday, January 13, 2007

The case of the (bitter)-sweet pillow angel...

Here is an article on The Ashley Treatment.

If its length scares you, here's a synopsis:

The Facts:

  • Ashley is a child who has a severe cognitive/developmental disability.
  • Ashley can't talk, walk, feed herself, turn over, move around in bed, or do anything for herself.
  • Her intellectual development won't change.
  • Her parents say they love their "pillow angel" and couldn't imagine life without her at home.
  • Ashley is showing signs of early puberty.
  • Ashley's parents say she is reaching the maximum weight and height they can handle.
  • In an effort to improve the quality of Ashley's life and ensure she can be cared for at home, Ashley's parents consulted a surgeon who agreed to perform a hysterectomy, remove her breast buds appendix, and give her hormone therapy to keep her at her current size.
  • Ashley's parents say they are happy with surgery's outcome and Ashley suffered no pain or sense of loss.

The Way I See It:

  • Ashley's father has an answer for everything in his blog. This makes him sound like he's selling the idea, which, if he was truly right, he wouldn't have to.
  • The whole concept is too controversial. Good things are never grey; they are either black or white.
  • The label "pillow angel" seems to dehumanize Ashley.
  • The majority of actions doctors took were based on possibility, not probability.
  • The removal of Ashley's breast buds was to de-sexualize her to prevent care-giver abuse. Again, this is a possibility and not a good reason to take such drastic measures.
  • The implications of Ashley's surgery may not impact Ashley herself as much it will raise questions of ethics and parental control.

Important Questions:

  • Is The Ashley Treatment right?
  • Is this really about what's best for Ashley?
  • Are Ashley's parents acting on selfishness or future fears?
  • Why is Ashley's father so quick to defend his decision?
  • Is acting on possibility, not probability acceptable?

They say don't judge a person if we haven't walked in their shoes, but these shoes just seem to have a lot of holes.


1 comment:


great post and I TOTALLY AGREE.