Ashley X

Kristi L. Kirschner*, Rebecca Brashler, Teresa A. Savage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The recent case of Ashley X has sparked much recent public debate and controversy, and raises critical questions for physiatrists and rehabilitation professionals. The case came to light when Gunther and Diekema published an article in the October 2006 issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine describing a novel growth attenuation treatment for Ashley X, a 6-yr-old girl with developmental disabilities. Her parents also published a blog about Ashley, with detailed explanations for their rationale in choosing this treatment on behalf of Ashley which involved beliefs about her future and quality of life. Ashley's parents refer to the series of interventions as the Ashley Treatment in their blog, and this phrase has also been adopted by the popular press and others who have commented on the case. In this article we present an analysis of the Ashley X treatment and use a disability ethics approach to examine the perspectives of various stakeholders involved, including Ashley and other girls with extensive disabilities, parents, physicians, and bioethics committees. We conclude with critical questions for physiatrists and other disability specialists who are in a unique position to examine medical controversies involving people with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023-1029
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Disability
  • Ethics
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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