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Woman who had double mastectomy sues doctors over “transition”

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Katya Rekina | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 11/15/22

Chloe Cole claims she was not well informed by those who helped her attempt to change her sex.

A young woman and her parents, who were told that she was susceptible to suicide if she did not have sex-change therapy and surgeries, are suing her doctors and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, as well as the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.

Chloe Cole, who now heads up Detrans United, a support group of former transgender-identifying youth and adults, went as far as having a double mastectomy to “transition” from being a girl to a supposed male. The therapies and surgeries she had by age 17 have devastated her, she claims. 

Also named in the lawsuit are Lisa Kristine Taylor, M.D., an Oakland, California, pediatric endocrinologist; Hop Nguyen Le, M.D., a plastic surgeon from San Rafael, California; and Susanne E. Watson, Ph.D., a psychologist from Oakland.

According to a letter written to the defendants by attorneys Charles S. LiMandri and Harmeet K. Dhillion of Rancho Santa Fe, California, Cole began experiencing “gender confusion” when she was nine years old and expressed this discomfort to her pediatrician at age 12. Several months later, Dr. Taylor prescribed puberty-blocking hormones. 

“Defendants coerced Chloe and her parents to undergo what amounted to a medical experiment by propagating two lies,” the letter says. “First, Defendants falsely informed Chloe and her parents that Chloe’s gender dysphoria would not resolve unless Chloe socially and medical[ly] transitioned to appear more like a male. Second, Defendants also falsely informed Chloe and her parents that Chloe was at a high risk for suicide, unless she socially and medically transitioned to appear more like a male. Chloe has been informed by her parents that Defendants even gave them the ultimatum: ‘would you rather have a dead daughter or a live son?’”

Never informed

The letter says that Cole was not deemed to have any suicide risk prior to beginning puberty blockers. It also claims that the “vast majority of childhood gender dysphoria cases resolve by the time the child reaches adulthood, with the patient’s self-perception reverting back to align with their biological sex.”

The letter charges that the defendants never informed Cole and her parents of other legitimate options, such as monitoring her psychological condition and/or receiving non-invasive psychological or psychiatric counseling or treatment. “Instead, Defendants fraudulently concealed this information from Chloe and fraudulently informed Chloe that the only way to resolve her psychological condition was to undergo physical, chemical, and social transition to a male role,” it says.

In addition, the letter maintains, in a large number of cases, suicidality and psychiatric issues are not resolved by sex reassignment. “Indeed, the best mental health outcomes occur when a patient’s gender dysphoria resolves so that the patient’s perceived gender identity aligns with the person’s biological sex,” the letter says. 

The letter claims that neither doctors nor informed consent forms revealed potential health risks associated with therapies and surgeries. “Also, [patient and parents] were never informed of the high probability that Chloe’s gender dysphoria would resolve as an adult without hormone or surgical treatment,” it says. 

Emotional distress

Some time after her double mastectomy, Cole began to have remorse for having had the transitioning therapies. “She is devastated that she will never be able to breastfeed a baby,” says the letter. “She now has a substantially increased risk of having long-term fertility issues, and it is unknown whether her fertility is permanently adversely affected. Her voice is now a lower pitch and is not as feminine, which greatly troubles her. Several of her female physical attributes were negatively affected, causing her extreme emotional distress. This includes the loss of her otherwise healthy breasts and the stunted development of the female curvature of her body and face. She is also at a substantial increased risk for future health issues because of the ill-conceived puberty blocker and hormone treatment she has received.”

Aleteia has asked Kaiser Permanente for comment.

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