Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Pillow Angel

In 2007, the parents of a six year old severely disabled girl from Seattle took the decision to have her sterilised and treated with hormones to prevent her growing into a woman. This left her in a permanent state of pre-pubescence, and small enough for her to be more easily lifted and cared for by her parents.

Many questions in medical ethics concern relatives asking for medical intervention for someone who can't give their own consent. This case has divided opinion. Ashley's parents feel strongly that the treatment will give her the best quality of life. The ethics committee of the Seattle Children's Hospital, where she was treated, carried out a cost-benefit analysis and agreed. Opponents of the treatment feel that since it was effectively unprecedented, this marks the first step on a slippery slope of treatments to make life easier for care-givers at the expense of the dignity of the recipient. Others feel that drastic interventions such as this highlight the lack of support (both financial and medical) that society is prepared to give severely disabled people over the long term.

Whatever your position, its obvious that Ashley belongs to a very loving family who's thoughts are only for her well-being. They have written and blogged extensively about their decision. Ashley has become better known as the 'Pillow Angel'.

Pillow Angel

No comments: