ShareThis Page

Intervention sought for disabled teen planning to die

| Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, 9:48 p.m.

APPLETON, Wis. — Disability rights groups said Thursday they have asked child protective services to intervene in the case of a severely disabled Wisconsin teenager who suffers chronic pain from her disease and wants to die.

Jerika Bolen, 14, who suffers from Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, garnered widespread attention earlier this year by speaking openly about plans to end her life. Her final wish of a prom dance drew more than 1,000 people in her hometown of Appleton.

Bolen said that because of her severe pain and the degenerative nature of her disease, which has confined her to a wheelchair, she would stop using the ventilator that aids her breathing in September.

Bolen's mother, Jen, could not be reached for comment, but she told the Appleton Post Crescent in July she had reluctantly accepted her daughter's decision.

“If she's at peace with it, I have to find a way to make peace with it,” she said.

However, several disability rights groups have voiced concern, arguing that Bolen's case should be treated as one of suicide prevention because her disease is not terminal.

They also question the pain management care Bolen has received.

“This is a child protection issue,” said Carrie Ann Lucas, founder of Colorado-based Disabled Parents Rights.

“We're talking about a 14-year-old child. It's a difficult time in most people's lives. She has her whole life in front of her. She should be going to college. She should be having a career.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.