MODERATOR: Disability Rights Washington and the National Disability Rights Network have just released Devaluing People with Disabilities: Medical Procedures that Violate Civil Rights, a report which examines the use of unnecessary medical procedures such as the Ashley Treatment and the withholding of necessary care and treatment such as food, medicine, or organ transplants to people simply because they have disabilities.
We want to hear what you have to say about this.
Some of the examples of discriminatory medicine described in the report include:
• The growing use of the Ashley Treatment (sterilization, removal of breast, and use of hormones to keep people permanently small);
• forced sterilization;
• withholding nutrition and basic antibiotics; and
• denying a kidney transplant.
The report prominently features input from a number of people with disabilities who talked about what they thought of the Ashley Treatment and their personal experiences with medical professionals and family members when making decisions about their health care, and more fundamentally their bodies. These conversations are being compiled into a documentary, a preview of which has already been released. Here is some of what people said in the report and video:
Parents do have rights … but not the right to do ANYTHING to their children. Ashley is not just an extension of her parents. Ashley is herself. – Joelle Brouner
There is no such thing as being too disabled. The doctors told my parents that I would be a vegetable and would not be able to do anything in life. If they could see me now. – Ken Capone
It does not make any sense [for the parents to say they did this to make it easier to take her places] because that is why they made wheelchairs and crutches to get around. They want to make it easier for themselves. – Thelma Greene
There is such a fear factor that parents of people with developmental disabilities have. People in the community are scared of us. It would be different if people in
the community had a different idea about people with disabilities. The fear factor plays into what people are thinking. – John Lemus
In addition to being the moderator for this forum, David Carlson is the Associate Director of Legal Services at DisAbility Rights Washington and was the lead attorney assigned by DRW to conduct the investigation into the initial use of Ashley’s Treatment.