Cosmetic Surgery in Children with Cognitive Disabilities: Who Benefits? Who Decides?(Essay)
The Hastings Center Report, 2009, Jan-Feb, 39, 1
The Hastings Center Report
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Recently, as part of a clinical ethics consult, a clinician told the story of a mother and her teenage son. A couple of years ago, the boy had a skateboarding accident and injured his brain and spine, leaving him quadriplegic, unable to communicate, and in need of mechanical ventilation. At the time of the ethics consult, the boy was back in the hospital because the bone graft--bone taken from another part of his body to fill two large sections of his skull removed after the initial injury--had now failed, leaving only a layer of skin to protect his brain. To safeguard his brain from further injury, surgery was planned to cover this fragile area of his head with plastic prosthetic plates. The parents had requested the surgery and the surgeon agreed, but some of the other clinicians caring for the boy had a problem with it. Although the prosthetic plates were reconstructive, the surgery involved serious risks with questionable benefits. The boy's risks of falling and hitting his head were nearly zero since he remained in bed unless placed in a wheelchair. When one of the doctors asked the mother why she wanted this cosmetic surgery for her son, she responded angrily, "How dare you call it cosmetic!"
- 2,99 €
- Category: Life Sciences
- Published: 01 January 2009
- Publisher: Hastings Center
- Print Length: 9 Pages
- Language: English