Ashley had a normal birth, but her mental and motor faculties did not develop. Over the years, neurologists, geneticists, and other specialists conducted every known traditional and experimental test, but still could not determine a diagnosis or a cause. Doctor?s call her condition ?static encephalopathy of unknown etiology?, which means an insult to the brain of unknown origin or cause, and one that will not improve.
Static Encephalopathy is the permanent or unchanging brain damage. The effects on development depend on the part of the brain involved and on the severity of the damage. Developmental problems may include any of a range of disabilities such as cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, mental retardation, autism, PDD, speech delays, attention deficits, hearing & vision impairments, oral motor problems, etc.
“Now nine years old, Ashley cannot keep her head up, roll or change her sleeping position, hold a toy, or sit up by herself, let alone walk or talk. She is tube fed and depends on her caregivers in every way. We call her our ?Pillow Angel? since she is so sweet and stays right where we place her?usually on a pillow” Ashley’s parents told.
Ashley’s parents defended their choice of this treatment :
- The “Ashley Treatment” is intended to improve our daughter’s quality of life and not to convenience her caregivers.
- Providing our daughter with this treatment was an easy decision since the benefits by far outweigh the risk and short term discomfort associated with the surgery.
- The ?Ashley Treatment? is the name we have given to a collection of medical procedures for the improvement of Ashley?s quality of life. The treatment includes growth attenuation through high-dose estrogen therapy, hysterectomy to eliminate the menstrual cycle and associated discomfort to Ashley, and breast bud removal to avoid the development of large breasts and the associated discomfort to Ashley. We pursued this treatment after much thought, research, and discussions with doctors.