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On Keeping a Disabled Girl "Small"
Time-length-icon 3m 52s
Plays-icon 894
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Publish-date-icon January 5, 2007
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EPISODE DESCRIPTION

I have had several requests to comment on the story of the cognitively disabled girl named Ashley, whose parents subjected her to hormone treatments and invasive surgeries (hysterectomy, mastectomy) to keep her "small." The point of these "treatments" was to ensure that by remaining at about 75 pounds, Ashley's care could still be provided by her parents. I certainly don't question the parents' motive. They thought this was the best way to continue to be able to care for their daughter at home. Still, the core questions as I see them, are whether these interventions supported Ashley's intrinsic worth and whether they were therapeutic and therefore ethical for a doctor to perform.

The answer to both questions, I think, is no. The motive was love, I agree. But, in the end, I think it was wrong.

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