Daniel F. Gunther, physician at Children's Hospital in Seattle and primary proponent of the Ashley Treatment, committed suicide. As reported in the Seattle Times today, the family believes a history of depression was the reason for the suicide. Colleagues and family members said the Ashley Treatment had nothing to do with his decision to end his life. According to colleague Dr. Doug Diekema, he considered Gunther to be "a hero for standing up for families" and "without whose courage, confidence, knowledge, open-mindedness and unwavering support the [Ashley] Treatment woud not have been realized"
Like many others I was severely critical of the Ashley Treatment, Gunther and Doug Diekema. In spite of my criticism, I am deeply sorry to learn about Gunther's death. My heart goes out to his family, friends and colleagues. I was also sorry to learn that Gunther was subjected to harrassment when the Ashley Treatment became a media sensation. It is one thing to disagree but something else entirely to harrass a fellow human.
I remain adamently opposed to the Ashley Treatment. For me, Gunther's death highlights the overwhelmingly depressing nature of the Ashley Treatment. I wish his family well and offer them my condolences.