Lawsuit: Irreversible surgery leaves child with wrong genitalia

When Chicago doctors and hospitals are negligent, they risk making mistakes that may never be fixed or repaired. In addition to suffering physical scars and injuries, victims of medical malpractice may be left with emotional scars that they must deal with for the rest of their lives.

This week, one couple’s lawsuit against two medical facilities and the state of South Carolina has hit national headlines due to the severe and permanent harm the hospitals and state are accused of inflicting on the couple’s adopted child. The lawsuit claims that the state and hospitals allowed anunnecessary surgery to be performed on the couple’s child before the child was adopted by the family.

Although the family’s adopted child may have needed surgery later in life, the surgery has now left the couple’s adopted child with the wrong gender parts. The couple’s adopted child was born with female and male genitalia. Before the child was adopted, doctors performed a sex-assignment surgery and removed the child’s male genitalia. However, the child is now 8 years old and identifies as a male.

The sex-assignment surgery that was performed when the child was 16 months old is irreversible. This is especially problematic now that the child identifies as a male but has female genitalia. The child’s parents have chosen to pursue a lawsuit against the state and two hospitals, arguing that the hospitals and state performed the sex-assignment surgery too soon.

Prior to adopting the child in 2006, the couple was aware that the child was born with male and female genitalia, and the couple requested that no surgeries be performed while the child was too young to identify with a particular gender. However, the surgery was performed before the child was adopted. The couple claims that they raised their child as a girl since doctors chose to remove the child’s male genitalia. However, the child identifies as a male, and the couple claims that their child “has always shown signs of developing a male gender.”

The couple is requesting compensation for the damage the sex-assignment surgery will have on their child’s life. The couple also wants to make sure the negligent parties are held accountable for choosing to perform a sex-assignment surgery on such a young child.

Source: USA Today, “Hospitals, South Carolina sued over child’s sex surgery,” Tim Smith and David Dykes, May 15, 2013

Surgical Errors


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