Sunday, April 29, 2007

Today's Zaman Istanbul, April 28, 2007
Family's appeal to stunt son's growth rejected

A board of doctors on the Health Ministry's ethics committee has rejected anappeal from a family with a son suffering from cerebral palsy to implement atreatment that would stunt their son's growth.

Dr. ├ľner Odabas, who heads the ministry's treatment services department,announced late on Friday that the Evren family's plea to allow a doctor toapply a growth-stunting procedure to their disabled son had been rejected bythe department's ethics committee, which is made up of a child neurologist, aradiologist, a deontologist, public health officials, a child psychiatrist, achild endocrinologist, a surgeon, and representatives of the TurkishPharmacists' Union and the Turkish Doctors' Union. "There has been nodocumentation of the positive consequences of this method in the literature todate," said Odabas.

The Evren family had applied to the Ankara University department of medicinelate March, where they were told they would have to wait for a decision fromthe Health Ministry's ethics committee before implementing the procedure tostunt their child's growth, also referred to as "Ashley's treatment." Thefamily had said they feared that if their disabled son Umut Mert got tallerand heavier, they would be unable to hold or carry him. Umut Mert cannot eat,speak or walk by himself.

Explaining the ethics committee decision, Odabas said Ashley's treatment wascurrently applied only in the US, stating that the number of cases where thegrowth-stunting procedure had been used was still too small to draw aconclusion and that thus the main reason the committee dismissed the optionwas that it was not ethical.

The family had been informed of the decision on their application, Odabassaid. The family's plea had sparked controversy, drawing both support andcriticism from various circles.Ashley's treatment is named after a severely disabled 9-year-old Seattle girlwhose parents opted to stunt her growth and prevent her sexual maturity inorder to allow them to continue to maintain a high standard of care for her.
28.04.2007 Today's Zaman Istanbul