Doctor defends surgery to stop autistic teen's screaming

NBC news contributor Dr. Art Caplan has written an editorial in defense of a Wisconsin mother who chose to have her autistic son's vocal chords surgically altered to stop his constant screaming.

Caplan writes:

Three years ago, Kade Hanegraaf started screaming. And he didn't stop: The autistic teenager from Appleton, Wis., would scream at the top of his lungs more than 1,000 times a day. His sharp cries were louder than a lawn mower, and the behavioral problem was destroying his family.

Screaming is common among some autistic people, and Kade became obsessed with the sound, his mother, Vicki Hanegraaf, told the Associated Press. No amount of rewarding or reasoning could get the noise to stop. They couldn't take the teenager anywhere, and they couldn't stand the noise -- it was especially bothersome to Kade's twin brother, Kyle, who is also autistic and is sensitive to noise.

What do you think about the surgery?

Check out Caplan's full editorial here.

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