Thursday, January 25, 2007

What do you think?

I read this article in Time magazine and i just wanted to get your views and opinions on this. Since no one has taken my search for a blog lover seriously, i am going to adopt a few for myself. Watch out for me in the comments section of some blogs. I am off to Ghana tonight for work so have a safe and blessed weekend..............

Ashley, now 9 is a severely brain damaged girl whose parents feared that as she got bigger, it would be harder to care for her the way they wanted to. So they set to keep her small. Through high dose estrogen treatment over the past 2 years, her growth plates were closed and her prospective height reduced by about 33cm. Her parents say "her smaller and lighter size make it more possible to include her in the typical family life & activities that provide her with much needed comfort such as car trips, touch, meal times etc"

Doctors removed her uterus - to prevent potential discomfort from mentrual cramps and pregnancy in the event of rape. Her breast buds were removed become of a family history of cancer and fibrocystic disease. Her parents say she has no need for breasts since she wont breast feed and their presence will be a source of discomfort since the harness strap;s that hold her upright go across her chest.

A 40 member ethics committee of Seattle Children's Hospital had to seat and evaluate this case. Doctors argue that her smaller size has medical as well as emotional benefits. It will make it easier for her to be moved which will mean better circulation, digestion and muscle condition & fewer sores and infections. The doctors concluded that they could remove her uterus and breasts because she would be better off without them; they could keep her short because, since she will never hold a job or a romance, she wont suffer the social consequences of being short. To those that say she should have a right to grow, the head of the ethics committee says Ashley has no concept of these things.

Are her parents justified in taking these drastic steps?


LondonBuki said...

Wow... pretty intense. People can have their opinions but most of them haven't been in this situation.

Have a FAB weekend! And hope you enjoy Ghana, I hear it's a nice country.

Noni Moss said...

What? That's crazy!

So she'll turn 18 and still ahve the body of a 9 year old? That's torture! And yeah she may be brain damaged but then what's the point of going through all this? Put her unto a ventilator and after some time, let her die then!

Naija Vixen said...

the parents are wrong on this...i usually hate 2 judge parents,but surely nobody altered their lives this much?and very selfishly everything they've done now to their daughter is for their own good and benefit...sad
have a guud tyme in ghana,it's a beautiful country and u can get guud & affordable fabrics!!!!

azuka said...

This is one thing I have mixed feelings about. This would be one of the few cases in which I would support euthanasia.

If you know she's going to die anyway, why keep her alive? If they succeed in keeping her until she's 60, what's the gain? 60 years of not even knowing who you are sounds like something straight out a nightmare.

Soul said...

*sigh*, I can't seem to form the words. really.

The parents are holding on with everything they have to something which is not. Their desperation whilst sad is also heinous.

It's just sad all the way around. But this girl should not be frozen in time, because her parents want her around longer. it is unfair.

In my head and around me said...

I read this article in TIME as well and like Azuka, had mixed feelings about it. I followed it up by reading her parent's blog (that's what brought it all to the limelight) and viewing pictures of Ashley online. What I could see was a family that absolutely loves this little girl.

For some others, she might be a burden but she is obviously adored by her parents and siblings.It could not have been easy to care for her up to this point, but they have done it.

I have a problem with the ethics of conducting this sort of operation on someone without their express consent. On the flip side, I believe that her parents are not doing this to "preserve" her. Her comfort played a role in their decision.

Azuka, she is not in pain, why the euthanasia? God gives. And when He does, it is not without reason. She came to this family because she was meant to.

As for my opinion, I can not offer one as I have never walked in their shoes.I can only state my observations

Naijadude said...

In a layman's view just like me and you, we would be so swift to pass out judgement and wrath on the family for being self-centered but I think ethics or no ethics, they know whats best for the kid, they seek the best for her, apparently!

azuka said...

In my head and around me
I didn't say she was in pain, but being brain-dead certainly isn't appealing to me.

Funmi said...

Wow! that must be a hard decision to make. Then again except one is in their shoes you can't really judge their 'drastic' moves.

What just came to mind now is that 'God will not give more than we can bear'.

Vera Ezimora said...


I dunno how I feel about this. I understand the parents do not want her to die, of course. What parent would want their child dead?

But @ the same time, I dunno how I feel about them doing this 2 her. I know that whether they did this 2 her or not, she still won't know the difference, right?

May God help her and her parents.

Nyemoni said...

Wow, tough call... I would not like to even think of being hard pressed to make a decision like the parents.. Nobody can ever imagine how tough the decision would be unless they had to make the same decision... I would like to think that in their shoes, I would not respond to the situation the way they did though... nuff said

BTW, enjoy Ghana! Have fun!

chainreader said...

i read about this too. and after thinking about it for a while, i figured that it's easy to look in from our safe little corners and say what we think is best for the child. but it's the parents that are wearing the shoe, and they know where it pinches. my feelings about this remain mixed.

i know lots of nigerian parents that would pray for a child to die once they found out that he or she was retarded. in fact, i know a father who am convinced strangled his child in the hospital for the same reason. at least, ashley's parents seem to genuinely love her, and are doing what they think they can to keep her comfortable. we can't ask for more than that.

Noni Moss said...

You know after reading everyone's comments and reading the article and the blog - I realise I may have been a bit hasty.

There are some compelling reasons and they do have best interestsin that they feel they are improving her quality of her life (even though I think it's more improving their life and the helping with the level of care they can give her). And I guess I can't judge them as I'm not the one faced with the issue.

I still dont think it's fair to her as she apparently still has brain functionality - however limited and is aware of her surroundings and the people around her. I wonder how they will know if she is aware of the changes in her siblings whilst she remains the same or if they will know if her mind develops any further?