Doctor involved in controversial care of girl kills self
A children's Hospital doctor, who was both criticized and praised for his involvement in a hysterectomy performed on a 6-year-old disabled...
Seattle Times staff reporter
A Children's Hospital doctor, who was both criticized and praised for his involvement in a hysterectomy performed on a 6-year-old disabled girl in order to keep her small, committed suicide last week, according to the King County Medical Examiner.
Dr. Daniel F. Gunther inhaled car exhaust and died of toxic asphyxia at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 30, according to the medical examiner. The death was ruled a suicide.
In 2004, Gunther and Children's Hospital agreed to perform a series of surgeries on Ashley in order to keep her small. Ashley's parents said if their "Pillow Angel" grew larger she would be more difficult to care for.
Ashley can't sit up, feed herself, talk or hold a toy on her own.
Children's Hospital and Gunther initially defended the decision to perform the surgeries on Ashley but in May they said they had made a mistake and the treatment was illegal. The hospital said they would have needed a court order to perform the surgery legally.
Gunther and another doctor wrote an article published in 2006 in the medical journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine advocating the treatment for some cases. The article was titled "Attenuating Growth in Children With Profound Developmental Disability. A New Approach to an Old Dilemma."
Brian Alexander: 206-464-2026 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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