Unethical ? Mother Wants Hysterectomy For Disabled Daughter

  1. wow, this certainly is a serious topic. Surely there are forms medication that can prevent menstruation.

    Crap, I don't know. Part of me thinks that she's taking something away from her daughter without permission, but I know how difficult it is to have a handicapped child, dealing with monthly periods would be very hard.
  2. oops that is a dead link... anyone have another one for this story?
  3. I dont see why not... in all honesty I doubt she'd notice. :/
  4. it's hard to comment when most of us aren't in the situation where WE are the ones that have to deal with it day in and day out.

    It's bad enough having to deal with my own monthly cycle, and at least i understand why i bleed, have mood swings, etc and that it'll be over in about a week....

    will it negetively affect the girl's quality of life if she stops having periods and can no longer get pregnant? probably not.

    if the mother & daughter both benefit long-term, i would not make it my business if her mom chose this option.
  5. I myself am an OB-Gyn doc but have not been confronted with this question. However, I did have one patient who was disabled and living in a nursing home since she was a child, and now she was in her mid-30's. Apparently, she was being raped by someone within the home, and subsequently became pregnant. You cannot imagine the heartbreak I felt taking care of this patient, with her going through this with the mentality of a 2yr-old. And her submissiveness to female examinations only pointed to the fact that she stopped fighting it long ago :crybaby:... And the nursing home wanted me to sign statements to help cover their ass :cursing:, which I never did of course.

    Just seeing ONE of these patients was enough for a lifetime. I will never forget her... As rare as this might be, should someone approach me with the request to remove a uterus for a disabled child, I would take it out.

    On top of pregnancy, mommy won't be there to monitor periods/menstrual pains forever. Oh yeah, I had a mentally disabled patient whose family took excellent care of her. Even so, she couldn't communicate. And they finally had her checked out when she seemed to "slow down," to find that she was EXTREMELY anemic (25% of normal, I'm surprised she never passed out) with a fibroid uterus that was almost 3lbs in weight when we took it out!

    And the potential for cancer... oooh, don't even get me started there.
  6. ^^ That's unbelievably awful, bonniec.... you did the right thing with not covering the nursing home's rear end...
  7. that's true about parents not being there forever to take care of children with disabilities...

    it reminds me of an article i read earlier this year about a mom wanting to have her daughter to have some hormone therapy or something similar to halt adult development... it would keep her daughter smaller & easier to pick up & change, more mobility, etc...

    ...parents get older, pass away... and then the kids go to places like the nursing home metioned above...sad!
  8. Seems like we don't have all the answers - can the daughter have a menstrual cycle? Has this started already? What type of hormone therapy would be required if this was performed? Will these drugs, if necessary, interfere with other medications she is currently taking? What kind of pain is she already in that the cramps and bleeding would intensify? I'd imagine there's back pain, and possibly hip pain from sitting long periods of time. If she has little motor control, there is no way for her to "adjust" her body to a more comfortable position, and appears that she cannot communicate verbally or otherwise to indicate her discomfort/pain.

    As a sibling of a disabled individual, I can totally understand the difficult choices that parents / others make to care for their loved ones. I am thankful that I am healthy and can care for my brother who also has a form a cerebral palsy, and plan to do so long after my parents pass on. He requires total care, and while he can communicate with us and enjoys as full of a life as possible, it quite a lot of work to care for him.

    To get an idea of what family members go through ... Imagine what it would be like to have an infant forever - feeding, bathing, transporting from bed to room to car to wherever, medicines, stimulating activities, doctors appointments, specialists, maintaining equipment (wheelchairs, etc), home safety modifications, custom modifications to cars/vans, legal documents, I could go on and on. When you think about the effort it takes just to take an infant with you to the grocery store - you can certainly imagine what this takes to do this for a 100+lb individual in a wheelchair.

    My brother - well, he's already a handful (in a good way too), but I can't imagine our family having to care for someone with his condition AND with menstrual cycles each month! Yikes!

    We are also dealing with a difficult decision regarding his pain levels - his hip is out of whack from the years of being in a wheelchair and since he is not able to walk on his own, is not eligible for a hip replacement. The options is to keep as is, and provide medication when the joint 'pops out' and is painful, or remove the hip ball and part of his upper thigh bone, thus relieving his pain but making his leg gimpy forever. he's part of this decision, and hasn't 'said' what he wants to do yet. (Yes, we talk to him in this manner also - telling him he'd be more gimpy than he already is - a sense of humor is vital for our sanity!). Okay, off topic and TMI.

    Ultimately, I don't think that anyone can or should pass judgment on this mother until you have "walked a mile in her shoes".
  9. Here's a thought though not a pleasant one- Years later the mother passes on and the daughter ends up in the nursing home. Will the fact that she has had a hysterectomy cause her to be more in danger of a rape as her caretakers will know she cannot get pregnant? I can see both how a hysterectomy would be beneficial, and how it would be seen as an unnecessary and possibly endangering/risky procedure. Do the benefits really outweigh the risks? I really don't know.
  10. I think at an age that young, having a hysterectomy can lead to a variety of other problems. She will need to be put on hormone replacement, which has been lead to cancer... I just would have a hard time with it either way, am not in the situation, but I can't think I would do that.
  11. Thanks, bonniec, for sharing your perspective, showing us what I know is just the first page of a thick stack of factual considerations that might not occur to many of us.
    Overall, I would have to agree with bonniec that the net quotient of suffering and potential suffering on the part of the patient would be lower without benefit of uterus.

    At the same time, your comment is a powerful reminder of the reality of the society we have forged, the choices we have collectively made.
  12. You are correct Megs. There are a number of effects caused by a hysterectomy besides the pain/risk of surgery, esp. in a young person. The uterus is not a "disposable" organ. Estrogen levels need to be replaced by therapy. There is a three times greater risk of cardiovascular disease. One is more likely to develop osteoporosis. I can't say I have a stance, but this is a weighty issue.
  13. My sister's ex had an aunt in her 30's who is disabled. She has the mentality of a 3 year old - lives at home, is cared for by her mom (who is still young) and other nurses/care people who come to care for her. She is unable to do anything for herself and never leaves the house unless she needs to. She's confined to bed or a wheelchair.

    Her mother badly wanted to have a hysterectomy for her daughter because of the pains that she would get during her monthly cycle. The daughter would have immense cramps and start to get scared/freak out because she didn't know why she was bleeding. Is it fair to let an adult, albeit one who cannot care for herself or is even able to comprehend what having a cycle means continue to have one? In this case, I don't think so. She will never live a normal, adult life, so why make her suffer through this for another 20 years? JMO...