Thursday, January 17, 2008


In the past few years there has been a very heated debate about sterilizing children who are severely disabled so that it is easier to care for them as they mature. Recently a UK hospital has denied a mothers request to have her daughters womb removed. Their reason? The hospital "feared negative backlash from charities."

One must wonder if the doctors truly felt that the surgery was unnecessary. The UK case is very similar to that of Ashley X from Seattle. Ashley is unable to walk, talk, keep her head up in bed, or swallow her own food. Both are examples of girls who will be dependent on a caregiver everyday of their lives. They will never understand what it means to be a woman. They will never be able to have a child or feel a maternal instinct. As a woman I can't imagine going through my adult like without breasts or a uterus. It makes me who I am. It is hard to put my feelings about my own body aside and realize that these children will never feel this way.

Why should these girls suffer from the discomforts of a period when they will never benefit from having one?

Is this controversial? Of course. I say give them the surgery. Improve their quality of life and help their families care for them by easing their stress.

If a medical doctor is going to deny a child the opportunity for an increased quality of life the world should be given sound medical reasoning for that decision. Saying no out of fear that one will loose charity donations shows a medical team with no real passion for their jobs. As a patient I will think twice before taking the advice of a physician who is more concerned about money than my health.

For more on this topic please read.


Shari said...

Hi Josie. I enjoy reading
your blog very very much...
But there is another aspect, and
that is in some women, removal
of the uterus causes pain,
discomfort and complications.
Unnecessary surgery isn't usually
recommended because you can't
predict these things.

Anonymous said...

I guess I would have to ask who is paying for the surgery. Insurance companies may balk at paying for the removal of healthy, functioning tissue for convenience sake. The parents opinion is valid. But perhaps giving birth control pills would have the same effect, scant or no monthly period. Quite a dilemma. Our nursing staff had such a case many years ago. A young girl, mentally handicapped as well as a spine so deformed she could only lay on one hip with her legs stretched out but her upper body bent upright, always supporting herself on one elbow. She was unable to communicate verbally and was hand fed. When she had her period, it was just one more thing we had to take care of for her. We never thought anything of it really, it was just part of her care.
If I were that person and were given a choice , I would opt for the surgery.
Cathy B

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