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U.S. Couple Defend Halting Disabled Daughter's Growth



1/4/2007 11:09:01 AM

The parents of a severely mentally disabled girl defended their decision to use medical treatments to keep her child-sized for the rest of her life. The 9-year-old, who is called Ashley and lives in Washington State, suffers from a type of brain damage doctors call static encephalopathy and has the mental ability of a 3-month-old baby. She can't walk, talk or keep her head up and is fed through a tube. Her parents say keeping her small will make her bed-ridden existence more comfortable. In a report in the journal the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine last year, doctors Daniel Gunther and Douglas Diekema, from the University of Washington in Seattle, explained the reasoning behind the treatment. But reaction to the article on websites included accusations that the couple's behaviour was "despicable" and "Frankenstein-esque".

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