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Parents Take Extreme Measures to Stop Growth of Mentally Disabled Child
Aired January 04, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: Hold that Diet Coke! I`ll take the frozen O.J. That`s right, frozen O.J. Finally, a judge takes justice into his own hands, freezing assets estimated at over $1 million, blood money off Simpson`s "how to commit murder" manual. And he should know, after the brutal murders of Simpson`s wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman.
And tonight, across the country, a hysterectomy ordered for a 6-year- old girl? Her parents taking extreme measures to stop her from ever growing up, a child frozen in time for her parents convenience? They say it`s for her own good, but my question is, is it even legal? Human treatment or human guinea pig?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GOLDMAN, RON GOLDMAN`S FATHER: Twelve years ago, Ron and Nicole were murdered, murdered by a man whose name I still to this day refuse to use.
We`re going to be an albatross around his neck for the rest of his life.
He`s never been punished for a single act of violence in his whole life. He`s never himself paid one single penny towards this judgment. Never. He`s flat-out admitted that he did it for money and received the money.
O.J. SIMPSON: (INAUDIBLE) Of course I got paid. I spent the money on my bills. It`s gone. Goldmans and them, they got to stop being professional -- professional victims.
GOLDMAN: Whatever he does, we`re going to be looking over his shoulder and trying to make certain that one way or the other, he gets punished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Finally, a judge in the O.J. Simpson case doing something to support the victims. Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Before we head to the O.J. Simpson frozen assets, let`s take a look at a story that has disturbed ethicists, lawyers alike all across the country. To Court TV`s Jean Casarez. Explain.
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: This is a case involving a 9-year-old little girl near Seattle, Washington. She is severely brain-damaged, so severely brain-damaged, she will always be in a bed the rest of her life and her mental capacity will never get beyond 3 months of age.
Now, her family has decided to do a process called growth attenuation. What that means is that maybe she will get older, but physically, she will not grow old in certain areas -- a hysterectomy, part of her breasts have been removed, and extreme estrogen so that she will never grow tall. For the rest of her life, she`ll be about 4-feet-7, about 75 pounds. And the family is saying this is important because they can carry her and love her for the rest of her life.
GRACE: Now, you`re calling it growth attenuation. A lot of people call it barbarism. They call it manipulating a child`s body at such a tender age, ordering a hysterectomy at age 6, removing breast tissue so she can never have breasts, never have a menstrual cycle, very, very disturbing, with high dosages of estrogen to stop her growth at 4 feet, 5 inches, 75 pounds.
Right or wrong. Let`s go out to the experts joining us tonight. Dr. Jeffrey Brosco -- Dr. Brosco a pediatrician at the University of Miami school of medicine -- explain the care, the condition, the procedure of Ashley.
DR. JEFFREY BROSCO, PEDIATRICIAN, U. OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, the procedure in some ways is very simple. What they`ve done is they`ve used high-dose estrogen, which is a normally occurring hormone, and just about every woman has high doses of estrogen in her body during puberty. And that`s what helps them grow and stop growing. It`s also what helps them become an adult woman.
And so what happens is, in Ashley`s case, they decided to remove her uterus and remove her breast tissue so that she will not look like an adult woman who is very short and small.
GRACE: OK, wait a minute. I got a problem. If you want to keep her short and small, Dr. Brosco, why do you have to remove all of her female parts? To keep her short and small with this estrogen, increased estrogen dosages, why do you have to remove her breasts and uterus?
BROSCO: You don`t have to. What the argument that the physicians and family make is that this is in Ashley`s best interests. By removing her uterus, she will not have periods. She will not have the cramps, the pain or any of the bleeding. By removing her breasts, they hope that she will have less discomfort. What they...
GRACE: Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wait! Wa-wait!
GRACE: Dr. Brosco, I`m just a lawyer. Slow down for me.
GRACE: By removing her breasts, that decreases what pain?
BROSCO: Well, what they say is that all of the women in the family have large breasts, and that for Ashley, she spends much of her time either in a wheelchair or a standing brace, and to be held in place in something like that, you need to have something that comes across your chest and holds you there. And so I think that`s what the family is trying to explain on their Web site.
GRACE: Out to Lawrence Carter-Long, the director of advocacy for Disabilities Network of New York City. Lawrence, what is your opinion?
LAWRENCE CARTER-LONG, DIR. OF ADVOCACY, DISABILITIES NETWORK OF NEW YORK CITY: You know, I have the utmost empathy for the parents in this case, but my real ire goes to this so-called ethics committee. I mean, who is on this committee? There`s no mention of an independent legal counsel or representative working on behalf of this child, no one with expertise in disability rights or issue of autonomy, looking out for the best interests of this child. Nor does there seem to be anyone who was on that committee who had any knowledge of in-home care and services that this child could get.
So my question is, if we`re really looking out for the best interests of this child, why are none of those things mentioned? It seems to me that this was a matter of convenience, not necessity, and that`s something we really need to question.
GRACE: Lawrence, let me be bold. My expertise is in a court of law, and this is very beyond that expertise. But instead of changing the patient, removing her breast tissue, removing her uterus, cutting out her appendix just in case she might get appendicitis one day, stunting her growth at 4 feet, 5 inches, 75 pounds, why don`t we change the way she`s treated?
I know on Court TV today, I spoke to a victim of a shooting, and she is a quadriplegic. She can`t move anything as a result of a bullet going through her neck, nothing. She can`t move. She was very much like Christopher Reeve. Why can`t the treatment for this so-called "angel pillow" -- it sounds like a little toy, not a person -- this angel pillow - - why can`t the treatment be changed instead of doing all these procedures to this child?
CARTER-LONG: Well, that`s what we need to do. We need to change our opinions of people with disabilities. We need to really look at the deeper issues, the failure of our health care system, for example. No one is going to tell you that the raising and caring of a child with severe disabilities is easy, but even if it isn`t safe or easy, it`s much more palatable than carving up a child because she -- for the sin of growing up. So I think what we need to do is really address our prejudices about disability and get to the bottom of those so tragedies like this don`t happen.
GRACE: Let`s go to a special guest joining us tonight that is supporting the parents` decision in all of these procedures on Ashley, also known as a "pillow angel." Joining us is Dr. James Hughes. Dr. Hughes is the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Dr. Hughes, explain to us your support of the parents.
JAMES HUGHES, INSTITUTE FOR ETHICS AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES: I`m really disturbed about the sanctimonious criticism that the parents have received, because I think if you read their blog, you`ll see the tremendous and quite extraordinary care that went into the decision-making, both the 40-member ethics committee that they consulted, the lawyers that they consulted, the physicians that they consulted about these treatments that they gave their daughter, and that the overriding motivation in every single case was not their own convenience, but that their daughter have a comfortable body to live in and that she have a long and comfortable life.
Now, the removal of her breast tissue you may think is an erroneous carving up of her body. There is breast cancer in her family, and it would have been painful for her to lie on or have -- be supported in with those breasts.
GRACE: Wait, wait!
GRACE: Dr. Hughes, a question. Everybody, somewhere in their family tree, has breast cancer, and to take out the breast tissue of a 6-year-old child in case she gets breast cancer 20 years later, I don`t see the nexus in that decision.
HUGHES: This is a 3-month-old child mentally in the body of a 6-year- old or 9-year-old body, and eventually in a 26 or a 46-year-old body. I think what`s quite extraordinary is people think that it would be less grotesque for a baby to be living in the body of a mature sexual woman than for her to be living in this smaller body, which her parents argue -- and which I think is quite correct -- will be much more comfortable for her to live in and will be more easily cared for by them. And I think that that is a legitimate consideration.
All of us have been cared for at one point or another and all of us have been caregivers at one point or another. And for people to say that the caregivers` needs should not be taken into account at all and that we should just bring in experts who can lift this child and not allow her to be lifted by her own parents, that`s an extraordinary insistence on these people`s part.
GRACE: Well, one thing I would like to correct, Dr. Hughes. You refer to it as sanctimonious criticism. That may be true. There may be sanctimonious criticism. But I would also like to remind you that many of the people tonight weighing in, including myself, have cared for the wheelchair-bound and cared for those that can`t care for themselves.
GRACE: Then you know the extraordinary stress...
GRACE: Yes, I do.
HUGHES: You know the extraordinary stress.
HUGHES: Yes, I do. And it is for an adult male. Yes, I know the stress.
HUGHES: Did you have to lift him?
HUGHES: Well, it`s difficult to lift adult men.
GRACE: Yes, it is.
GRACE: So before you label everyone that is not in agreement with the parents as sanctimonious, remember everyone has their burden to bear, sir, just as these parents do!
Let`s go to the lines. Out to Larry in California. Hi, Larry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Nancy. It`s good to be with you. What I`m wondering and everybody at the Larry Harriet (ph) news center (ph) is wondering, is can these parents be charged with a crime?
GRACE: I don`t see it. Let`s go out to the lawyers. Out to Doug Burns and Richard Herman, both of them veteran trial lawyers. Larry has a good point. Is treating this child in this manner, Doug Burns -- and let`s just take off all of our prosecution and your defense hats just a moment. Let`s think this thing through. Yes, as is pointed out by Lawrence Carter- Long, you`ve got this panel of ethicists going, OK. But let`s think about this for a moment. When you take a little girl`s breast tissue out, when you take her uterus out, when you remove her appendix in case she gets appendicitis -- I mean, for Pete`s sake, why don`t you cut her leg off in case she gets a tumor on her knee? I mean, Where do you stop? Can there be any charges, or should there be?
DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: From the standpoint of a criminal forum -- and obviously, the same caveat, I`m not a biomedical ethicist, I`m not a physician. However, since a review board, an ethics review board at the hospital approved it, I would think that Richard would agree that it would almost be impossible to charge them with a crime.
GRACE: Hey, hey, hey! There`s not strength in numbers on this show, Burns!
GRACE: ... your buddy here...
BURNS: I think I`ll throw it over to him.
GRACE: OK. Good tactic. Pass off. Richard Herman, agree, disagree?
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There`s no crime at all, Nancy. They can`t possibly be charged here, and that`s just how it is. They are the parents and legal guardian of this child. This is a tragic, tragic situation. They claim the issues are comfort and boredom. That`s what they`re stressing. They went to the ethics committee, they went to the board there, they approved it. They say they can now take this child on vacations with them, they can bring her outside more easily. If she was 150, 160 pounds, they weren`t going to be able to do that. This child will be in a bed for the rest of her life.
GRACE: I don`t -- I don`t know that -- number one, I agree with you, but for all the other reasons. I don`t see criminal charges, to answer Larry in California`s question. But just because the parent says this is OK does not mean it`s OK that you treat your children that way. Every night here on this show we, have examples very often of children mistreated by their own parents, adoptive and biological. Just because they say it`s so doesn`t make it so, Richard Herman.
HERMAN: Nancy, we don`t have examples like this. This is inconceivable for the majority of citizens in the United States, to have a person, possibly full-grown, with the brain capacity of a 3-month-old.
GRACE: You know what?
HERMAN: I mean, this is a horrific situation.
GRACE: Hold on just a moment. To Lawrence Carter-Long. Tell me something, Lawrence. What`s wrong with an adult handicapped person? Since when is that the most odious thing on our planet? When did that happen? Why are we willing to go to these lengths to avoid an adult handicapped person?
CARTER-LONG: That`s precisely the real question we should be asking.
GRACE: I mean, are we that threatened by an adult female with breasts and a uterus that is handicapped?
CARTER-LONG: Let`s also bring up -- I think, in looking at this child`s best interest, there`s no immediate urgency in this case. This child`s life was not in danger. All of these things were done for a matter of convenience, or what they thought might happen at some point in the future. We`ve got all sorts of unknown risks and permanent consequences to this child here, which somebody needs to be accountable for.
I want to know why people with disabilities weren`t addressed in this matter and why we left it to the ethicists and those folks in the ivory towers because when we`ve done that, we`ve seen situations in the past of forced sterilization, forced institutionalization. The so-called experts don`t always know what`s best. And I think we need to get past our fear of disability so that we can address the real needs that real people have.
GRACE: Out to psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall. Bethany, on the other hand, within our family, we`ve been there, and I don`t want to call foul on parents that are doing what they think is the best for the child. I just don`t see it!
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Hey, Nancy, this is traumatic. It`s challenging for the parents. But when you subject a patient to any form of treatment, especially an invasive one like this, you want to make sure there`s a verifiable treatment outcome.
And I want to tell you what the dad said in his blog about one of the reasons he had the breasts removed. "Large breasts could sexualize Ashley towards her caregivers, especially when they are touched while she is being moved or handled, inviting the possibility of abuse." That is not a verifiable treatment outcome for removing breast tissue. That`s saying, If we let her have breasts, she might possibly be abused in the future, and that`s not why you treat patients in this invasive sort of way.
And by the way, this is the biggest problem that the ethics committee had was the removal of the breast buds. So yes, it`s difficult for the parents, it`s tragic, but we really have to think about patient care and scientific outcomes in a case like this.
GRACE: What do you mean, we have to be concerned about patient care and scientific outcomes?
GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa! What is that?
MARSHALL: What that means is this child deserves to be treated as if the outcome is important. In other words, if she weighs less, yes, she`ll have fewer bedsores. That`s a verifiable treatment outcome. However, that they won`t be able to cart her from room to room -- that`s not a verifiable treatment outcome because why don`t they just build a bigger apparatus so that they could do so? So I don`t think that these surgeries were well- advised, I think they were ill-advised, because the outcomes were not scientifically proven.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Holly in Illinois. Hi, Holly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thanks again for your work and dedication to all crime victims. My question is, do we know what Ashley X`s condition is?
GRACE: Yes, the condition is static encephalopathy. And to Dr. James Hughes. I understand that her mind will never go beyond 3 months. Here are the symptoms, Holly in Illinois. Permanent, unchanging brain damage, muscle atrophy, weakness, dementia, seizures, tremors, although I noticed in the blog, Holly in Illinois, the father writes -- and correct me if I`m wrong, Dr. Hughes -- that when she hears specifically I believe it was Boccelli -- correct, Ellie? -- that she will actually move her hands to conduct, that she recognizes, they believe, people in the room. What are her -- peculiar to her, her symptoms, Dr. Hughes?
HUGHES: Well, it`s really without examining her -- I don`t want to commit the Bill Frist fallacy of diagnosing a patient without having examined the patient. But it`s really immaterial to this case. This patient will never be able to participate in the making of her own medical decisions, whatever her mental condition is. We know that that`s not going to change.
GRACE: But there are a lot of handicapped people like that, Doctor!
HUGHES: Absolutely, and they all have to be cared for by someone and their medical decisions have to be made for them by someone else.
GRACE: But do they have to have their uterus and breasts removed and their growth stunted?
HUGHES: When it lengthens their life and improves the quality of their life, yes. And for instance, when patients have cancer, sometimes those kinds of surgical decisions are made for them by their parents or caregivers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t know the last name of this young local girl named Ashley, but we know a great deal about her body. Ashley has a severe brain impairment called static encephalopathy. She cannot walk or talk. She`s fed through a tube and has the developmental ability of an infant. As Ashley grew older, her parents began worrying they wouldn`t be able to continue caring for her if she grew too big for them to bathe, lift and move. That`s when they asked doctors at Children`s Hospital if they could embark on an unprecedented medical path that included a hysterectomy, the removal of her breast buds and a lengthy course of estrogen treatment, all designed to keep Ashley small.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: This little girl at age 6 underwent a hysterectomy. Her breast tissue has been removed. High doses of estrogen has kept her at 4 feet, 5 inches, 75 pounds. Question, Why?
To Court TV`s Jean Casarez. I agree with Richard Herman and Doug Burns, there`s clearly no cause of action, legal action against the parents, but I`m smelling a floodgate opening of litigation.
CASAREZ: A lot of people are concerned about that. You know, in the legal community, we talk about it opens the floodgates of litigation. And a lot of people are also concerned this could open the floodgate of medical procedures in the future to have things like this happen to other children in the same situation.
GRACE: A process called eugenics. Jean Casarez, correct.
Let`s go to the lines. Betty in Indiana. Hi, Betty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: I understand you have a child with the same condition.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it`s very, very similar. She`s extremely disabled. She`ll never walk, talk or feed herself.
GRACE: What do you think, Betty?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be perfectly honest, I really strongly support the parents` decision in this, and I`ll tell you why. My child is now 13, and started her menstrual cycle at the age 11. And she`s had a really, really tough time every month with these periods -- extreme pain, discomfort, which we have to try to manage. And I realize that normal healthy kids have the same thing. The difference is, with this child, she can`t tell us when it hurts or how it hurts. And we just do our best to position her.
I`ve had two options with regards to her menstrual cycle, which is, one, to put her on the pill, or number two, to give her Depo-Provera shots on a regular basis, which stops the periods altogether. The reason we`ve opted not to do those is, with the pill, you have blood clot issues in the legs, and with the Depo-Provera, you have bone density loss.
GRACE: Betty in Indiana, stay with us. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case, being short is a benefit to the child. There`s other parents who make decisions to make their children taller because that may be a benefit to the child. And so I think what all these cases have in common is an intention to help the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Is it right? Is it wrong? Will it end up in a court of law? A 6-year-old little girl undergoes a hysterectomy, her breast tissue removed. Why? She has the mind of a 3-month-old and is forever bedridden. These are decisions her parents have made.
Back to Betty in Indiana. Betty, you have a child with a similar condition. Continue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do, and she`s 13. And I told you the reasons that we didn`t choose to put her on the pill or Depo-Provera, because when they don`t have much movement, they have chances of blood clots in the legs, which could cause a stroke in these children. And the Depo-Provera is bone density loss issues. And she`s only 11, so her bones are still growing, so that was a critical issue, for breakage. So -- and with regards to the breasts, I will tell you that my child started her period and her breasts have grown. She`s very uncomfortable. It`s a very difficult time sometimes because...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Her parents have declined all interview requests but on their Web site say, quote, "We want to avoid sensationalism or philosophical debates about what we did and why we did it. We`d rather care for and enjoy Ashley than get into endless debates."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initially, I was a little startled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Benjamin Wilfong (ph) specialized in pediatric bioethics at Children`s Hospital. He was not yet on staff when the 40-member ethics committee agreed to Ashley`s treatments in 2004, but he says he understands the decision to allow it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case, being short is a benefit to the child. There`s other parents who make decisions to make their children taller, because that may be a benefit to the child. And so I think what all of these cases have in common is an intention to help their child.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ashley is now 9 years old. After two and a half years, she just wrapped up her treatments a few weeks ago. At four-feet, four-inches tall and 70 pounds, her doctor believes she`s almost done growing. On their Web site, Ashley`s parents say they did what they believe was best for their daughter saying, quote, "Unless you are living the experience, you are speculating, and you have no clue what it is like to be the bed-ridden child or their caregivers."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: How far can medical treatment go? A hysterectomy for a 6- year-old little girl, removing her breast tissues, removing her appendix in case she gets appendicitis, avoiding menstrual cramps in case she has menstrual cramps? Her breasts gone in case they get in the way or lure possible future health care givers? I don`t know where it ends.
Back to Lawrence Carter-Long. And let me remind you, if you don`t recognize Lawrence Carter-Long as an adult, I recognize him. He was once the poster child for cerebral palsy. And it is an honor to have you on the show tonight.
LAWRENCE CARTER-LONG, DISABILITIES NETWORK OF NYC: Thank you, Nancy.
GRACE: And you have been an inspiration to so many people, you`ll never even know. Question: Where will it stop? And why is a child, a person, called a pillow angel? I mean, are we so disgusted by handicapped adults, they`re not cute and precious anymore? I mean, where do you end, Lawrence?
CARTER-LONG: Well, that`s a very important question. It`s no surprise to me that the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has written a formal response denouncing Ashley`s treatment.
I think we really need to keep in mind here that there was no necessity for these experiments being done to this child. There was no necessity. All of her organs were functioning; her tissues were functioning.
And so, by doing these experiments, by basically manipulating this child or in somehow scarring her in this way, I don`t see how anybody can say that she is having any benefit whatsoever. So I think we need to keep that to the heart of the issue.
The bottom line here has to be our prejudices about disability, our unfamiliarity with disability. If we don`t come in contact with people with real disabilities in our lives, then we assume that their quality of life is going to be less.
That`s easy to do when you`re sitting in a room somewhere in Seattle pontificating about this, but they have disrupted this child`s life and irreparably altered it. And I think that those issues deserve serious discussion, such as we`re doing here today.
GRACE: And I can`t help but think -- if I think about it, Bethany Marshall, it`s almost too much for us to comprehend. But if I had to make that choice, what would my choice be? Would I want a hysterectomy at age 6? Would I want to have all my breast tissue removed? Would I want to have internal organs removed, my growth stunted? I would think no, Bethany.
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well, I mean, I think what you`re really pointing out is that Ashley didn`t get to make her own decision. And in these kinds of debates, we have to remember that we have to be an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves, and those are children and people with disabilities.
The parents can advocate for themselves, right, but the child cannot. And you keep mentioning pillow angel. You know, I wonder about the parents` unconscious motivations. It`s easier to love a child with a baby`s mind in a baby`s body, but if they might feel that it`s more difficult to love a being that has a child`s mind and an adult`s body.
And I hope they got some psychological screening before doing this for personality disorders or other motivations, because that really concerns me in this case.
GRACE: And I would like to point out to our viewers that the photos we`re showing you of Ashley are from their parents` blog. And that is at www.ashleytreatment.spaces.live.com. In fact, Jean Casarez, isn`t it true this child, this treatment was part of a study, and then that was published, and still the child remained anonymous until the family started this blog?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: That`s right, and it did hit a medical journal, I think, in the last year, and that`s when it went coast to coast, people shocked at what actually was happening.
You mentioned something at the beginning of the show that was interesting, I thought, that possibly to stunt the height and the weight was one thing, because of dosage of estrogen, but to take away the uterus and then also the breast tissue was even a separate issue.
GRACE: Well, regarding stunting weight, to Dr. Jeffrey Brosco, I know many handicapped people, including the person in my family. We try to keep the weight down, because our family is responsible for picking them up, carrying them, helping them. And it`s healthier. But that is through what we all should be doing, is watching what we eat.
Making a child stop growing at 4`4" and 75 pounds, I mean, when do you stop? What`s too far?
DR. JEFFREY BROSCO, PEDIATRICIAN: I think one of the things you have to understand as well, though, is that many families face a similar kind of decision. And just last week, I went through with a family the horror that they had to experience when their 19-year-old son became too big and to aggressive, and they couldn`t care for him at home, and their only real option was for him to go into a group home.
And it`s been a very difficult time for them. And I think, for many families out there, their children reach a size and a state where they just can`t care for them at home anymore. And I think it`s important that we keep in mind that this is a really difficult decision for families, and we have to be careful how we judge them.
And I recommend everyone look at the blog so they understand what this family is thinking and how they made their decision.
GRACE: Well, I`m being very careful about making a judgment on this. This isn`t like reading the statute and applying it to a set of facts in a criminal courtroom. This is a very, very difficult matter.
To Elena in Georgia, hi, Elena.
CALLER: Hi, thank you for taking my call.
GRACE: Hi, dear.
CALLER: My question is, will there be an investigation against the doctors that actually performed this procedure?
GRACE: Out to the lawyers, Doug Burns, Richard Herman, should there be an investigation, Richard Herman?
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, you know there`s going to be no investigation. You know there`s going to be no criminal charges. There was no crime here.
GRACE: Investigation. That was the question, investigation.
HERMAN: There is zero, no, never going to happen.
GRACE: Doug Burns, agree, disagree?
DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree there will be no investigation, because the ethics board approved it.
GRACE: Lawrence Carter-Long, should there be an investigation?
CARTER-LONG: Absolutely. I think we need to be investigating our ethics and our morals as a society that we could allow this to happen and that we could put the life of this child in the hands of people that would allow her to be mutilated.
I mean, let`s not mince words here: That`s exactly what has happened to Ashley. And we as a society have to atone for that fact.
This gets to the bottom of the issue. If children are not able to be properly cared for at home, it shows us that our health care system is broken. What we need to do is fix our health care system to provide people with the support...
GRACE: Lawrence, before we take on the whole health system, which I agree with you we should, about Ashley, take on her individual problems before stunting her growth and subjecting her to surgeries, let`s look at her type of treatment so it can accommodate her. I want to give the last word to Dr. James Hughes. Dr. Hughes?
JAMES HUGHES, INSTITUTE FOR ETHICS AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES: Well, I completely agree that we need to change our health care system, but I don`t understand what the complaint is. I don`t see any disability bias in this case. I see loving parents. If you read the blog, you see loving parents who are doing an extraordinary job to keep their child with them and to care for her for the rest of her life. And I think that that has to be commended by us all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O.J. SIMPSON, ACCUSED OF MURDER OF WIFE AND FRIEND: I don`t know what happened. I can`t tell you. I understood that this lady, Judith Regan, obviously thought, "Oh, he did it, so he knows how to confess. He`ll just confess."
The writer, when I first met him, she said, well, she says it was going to be a confession book. And I said, "I have nothing to confess." So they all negotiated, negotiated, negotiated, and they came up with this hook, make it a hypothetical.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That`s what you call this, they did it, she did it, Judith Regan does it, FOX did it. O.J. did it! O.J. Simpson did it, according to a civil jury, and I`m talking about double murder. But tonight, a frozen O.J. That`s right, the Simpson assets frozen, many believe up to the tune of $1 million in blood money.
Speaking of blood, we are showing you some of the crime scene photos at the time of the double slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman. And, oh, yes, don`t remind me, he was acquitted. I know all about that.
But what does it mean to have the assets frozen? Is there any chance the families can ever recover one penny from this high-spending, former gridiron great?
Out to Gloria Allred, former Brown family attorney, Gloria, what does it mean in simple terms?
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Well, it simple terms, Nancy, it means that whatever is in Lorraine Brooke Associates Corporation, or it`s been called a shell corporation, cannot be moved. Now, the great unknown is: How much is still left?
O.J. Simpson has said that he spent what he got from the book deal, so it may have been moved into the corporation and then moved out. I don`t know why it`s taken this long, frankly. I would be curious about why it`s taken this long to go into federal court to seek a stay order, this temporary retraining order, but I`m glad that it ultimately was sought and then was issued by Judge Real, and now we`ll have to find out how much is in it.
There will, of course, be a later hearing later in January to determine whether or not there will be future earnings that can be also stayed and then can also go to the estate of the Goldmans.
GRACE: Gloria Allred, I agree with you completely. Finally, a judge with -- what do you say -- a backbone or some guts? This federal judge, Manuel Real, ordered a TRO, temporary restraining order, a standstill order, commonly referred to as freezing assets.
Let`s take that question out to the Goldman attorney, a veteran trial lawyer himself, Peter Haven. Congratulations. And what took so long?
PETER HAVEN, ATTORNEY FOR MURDER VICTIM: Thank you very much. Part of what took a little bit of time is just trying to ascertain how best to proceed in the face of conflicting reports and conflicting evidence about what monies were being paid and where they were being paid to and where they were going.
And we were fortunate during this process to consult with an individual by the name of David Cook, with Cook Collection Attorneys in San Francisco, who is an expert on this particular area of the law. And we started working wit him, and he is the architect and the engineer, if you will, of this latest strategy, which is to seek federal court jurisdiction in an attempt to set aside the fraudulent conveyance of intellectual property rights and monies in connection with this "If I Did It" book deal.
GRACE: Well, Peter, weren`t you afraid that, after all this time has passed, O.J. is spending like a drunk sailor? I mean, come on, $20,000 in stolen, what was it, Ellie, stolen cable?
HAVEN: Well, when I was last on the show...
GRACE: Do you really need HBO that badly?
HAVEN: Well, there`s always concern that an individual like this is going to dispose of assets, but part of the nature of the relief we`re requesting is the ability to search and trace where all of these monies went, and also the ability to acquire any potential future payments that we have reason to believe may be in the pipeline, as well.
GRACE: Ah, future payments. I like the sound of that.
Out to Yale Galanter, O.J. Simpson`s lawyer, let`s talk about future payments. Let me guess: You say there`s not going to be any future payments, right?
YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there`s certainly there`s no future payments...
GRACE: Wait, are you still skiing in Aspen...
GALANTER: ... because the book deal was killed.
GRACE: ... are you still skiing in Aspen or have you come back to work like the rest of us?
GALANTER: Well, I`m working on the show tonight, aren`t I, Nancy?
GRACE: Oh, you`re probably kicked back with a big, old, fat cigar O.J. Simpson bought you.
GALANTER: You know, we sent you a copy of the transcript, and what you`re describing as assets freezing is clearly incorrect. We had agreed and suggested to the judge that they enter a standstill order, because we were served with papers at 3:00 the Friday before Christmas. What happened was Mr. Cook came into court on the 3rd...
GRACE: My producer told me that you had a problem with that.
GALANTER: ... continuance. Nancy, listen, you and I are both lawyers. When the judge looked at our team and said, "You prepare the order," you know who won the hearing: We did.
GRACE: I got a question. I understood, from my producer, Rupa, that you had a problem of getting served before Christmas. Is that true?
GALANTER: Yes, I did have a problem getting served before Christmas.
GRACE: What`s the problem?
GALANTER: The ethics code clearly says that lawyers cannot use the calendar to take an unfair advantage. And to your credit, Nancy, you announced it on your show on the 20th when I last appeared that I was at my house in Aspen, and they served us on the 23rd. How coincidental was that?
We contacted them and asked them for a continuance, just for professional courtesy...
GALANTER: ... they refused to give it to us, so we had to go to court, and we got it from the judge.
GRACE: You know what, Yale? I think the timing...
GALANTER: ... it was our suggestion we do a standstill.
GRACE: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Let`s take one thing at a time, Yale.
GALANTER: ... freezing assets.
GRACE: I think the timing has been off all around. And you know who probably would like to lodge a complaint on the timing? It would probably be Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.
I bet that they thought they`d live out their lives to the end of the mortality table when they`re up in their 70s or 80s, but according to me and a civil jury, your client thought differently. So I find it very ironic that you`re complaining about pre-Christmas serving of papers.
GALANTER: ... about whether you agree with the criminal verdict or you do not, but when lawyers are supposed to have civility -- that`s why there`s an ethics code -- these lawyers did not play by the book. That`s why Judge Real is going to come down on them and come down real hard.
GRACE: I don`t believe that...
GALANTER: There was nothing in the transcript about freezing assets, and you`re really doing a disservice to the viewers, because you`re not accurately depicting what happened at the hearing.
GRACE: Let`s go out to the lines, April in Kentucky, hi, April.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I watch your show every night.
GRACE: Thank you.
CALLER: And I was just wanting to know, when is all of this on O.J. and all of that going to calm down?
GRACE: Never, as long as he is living, and walking, and getting on television, and having a Web site, and claiming he`s looking for the real killer, which a lot of people believe is him, and making money off two murders.
It`s never going to end. You know why, April? Because it was an injustice, and everybody knows it. And it sticks in your craw because it`s wrong. You know why it sticks in your craw? Because most of us have a conscience, that voice that says this is wrong. To Pat Lalama, explain to us what`s going on. Galanter keeps saying it`s not a freezing of assets.
PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Oh, well, OK, I guess it was just cold semantics. The bottom line is that O.J. Simpson owes a whole lot of money to the families of two victims, we know that -- what is it, about $33.5 million now?
He hasn`t paid much, I think about a half million dollars to the Goldmans, which they had to use for legal defense. Now, it is believed, based on that, you know, if, "I didn`t do it, but if I had done it, this is how I would have done it baloney" that happened last year, there is a belief that he set up a dummy corporation to hide the money that he made.
The Goldmans may, in fact, be entitled to that money. All we`re saying is, keep that money there until we have another hearing. I don`t know -- if that`s not frozen, I don`t know what is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GOLDMAN, FATHER OF RONALD GOLDMAN: We`re going to be an albatross around his neck for the rest of his life. And whatever he does, we`re going to be looking over his shoulder and trying to make certain that, one way or the other, he gets punished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back. A judge finally has the guts to do something for the victims in the O.J. Simpson case, allegedly freezing his assets. Now, his lawyer, Yale Galanter, says that`s not the case. I was asking Galanter about future earnings potential off this how-to-commit-murder book Simpson wrote. It`s all laid out in "Time." Explain, Jean Casarez.
CASAREZ: Well, I think that`s the big question. "Time" magazine has reported that rights at the end of the year next year revert back to O.J. Simpson. We`re talking about rights of publicity, in regard to this particular book, a book that he could then be free to sell anywhere. Now, I`ve read the federal complaint many times. I don`t see anything about future earnings to O.J. Simpson, but that came out after this complaint was filed.
GRACE: Final thought, out to Gloria Allred?
ALLRED: I hope there is some money still left in the account, in the Lorraine Brookes so-called shell corporation, which he would say is not a shell corporation, but which the Goldmans would contend is. I hope there is some money left so that the Goldman estate can get it to help satisfy the judgment, and it has the secondary effect, of course, of making O.J. Simpson very unhappy, and that`s fine by me.
GRACE: And to Gloria Allred, you know all that money is long gone.
ALLRED: Probably is.
GRACE: Let`s stop for a moment to remember Marine Corporal Michael Lasky, just 22, Sterling, Alaska, killed, Iraq, second tour of duty. He joined the Young Marines as a teen. He loved the outdoors, wrestling and spending time with veterans. He leaves behind a family, a grieving widow, and a 1-year-old little girl. Michael Lasky, American hero.
Thank you to all of our guests, but especially to you. NANCY GRACE signing off for tonight. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.