Treatment

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    The Ashley Treatment refers to a controversial set of medical procedures undergone by a Seattle child, “Ashley X”. Ashley, born in 1997, has severe developmental disabilities due to static encephalopathy of unknown etiology; she is assumed to be at an infant level mentally and physically. The treatment included growth attenuation via estrogen therapy; hysterectomy, bilateral breast bud removal, and appendectomy. The principal purpose of the treatment was to improve Ashley’s quality of life by limiting her growth in size, eliminating menstrual cramps and bleeding, and preventing discomfort from large breasts. The combination of the surgery and the estrogen therapy attracted much public comment and ethical analysis in early 2007, both supportive and condemning. The hospital later admitted that the surgery was illegal and should only have been performed after a court order,Disability Studies at the University of Idaho: The “Ashley Treatment” is ruled illegal a position that is disagreed upon by the attorney of Ashley’s family. Ashley’s parents granted their first written interview to CNN Health in March 2008, and their second to The Guardian in March 2012. In addition, The Guardian published two interviews with mothers of a girl and a boy who had completed the treatment.

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