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Operation on Pillow Angel Violated Laws, Says US Advocacy Group

The hospital that sterilized Ashley, the pillow angel, in an attempt to stunt her growth, has violated Washington state laws, says the Washington Protection and Advocacy System (WPAS), a private group vested with federal investigative authority for people with disabilities.

It found that Seattle Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center violated the constitutional and common law rights of the girl by performing a hysterectomy without a court order from the state.

"Washington law specifically prohibits the sterilization of minors with developmental disabilities without zealous advocacy on their behalf and court approval," said Mark Stroh, WPAS executive director, in a statement.

However, WPAS says it has no plans to take legal action against the hospital.

Children's Hospital, in acknowledging its error, said that beyond implementing changes to ensure that sterilization of disabled children doesn't happen again without a court order, it will seek court approval for other procedures involved in the controversial growth attenuation therapy.

"We deeply regret that a court order was not obtained," Dr. David Fisher, medical director at Children's Hospital said in a statement. "The parents consulted an attorney and obtained a legal opinion that concluded the treatment was permissible under Washington state law without the need for a court order. This is where our system broke down. We take full responsibility."

Ashley, 9, has a condition called static encephalopathy, which means an unchanging brain injury of unknown origin.

"It was like seeing a baby in a much larger body," said Dr. Douglas Diekema, director of education at Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics in Seattle and chairman of the bioethics committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who was brought in to consult on this case.

"She would never talk, never walk, and was dependent on her parents to meet all he
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