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Parents sue over child's sex reassignment surgery

Several hospitals in New Jersey are capable of performing sex assignment surgery. However, this surgery is elective and can include risks for the patient. Adoptive parents of a child who was given sex-assignment surgery are suing a hospital and the state of South Carolina, where the surgery was performed, for medical malpractice. They are claiming that the child's legal guardian, the Department of Social Services, was not informed of the consequences and risks of the operation.

The suit claims that the hospital never informed the state Department of Social Services that the operation was irreversible and painful. They also claim that the child could have been raised as a boy or a girl, at least until identification with a gender, without the necessity of surgery. The child was born with both male and female genitalia and was 16 months old at the time of surgery.

The adoptive parents claim that any decision on the surgery should have been delayed until the child was older. Although the surgery removed the male genitalia, the child, who is now 8, has identified as a male. Three doctors and the state Department of Social Services were involved in the decision to change the child's gender through surgery. The parents claim that the doctors should have questioned the wisdom of the surgery and that DSS should have demanded a hearing on the issue before allowing the operation to take place.

Medical malpractice suits may be filed when a patient has been harmed by the actions of a doctor, another healthcare professional or a hospital. Victims of medical malpractice may be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, physical injury, costs of future medical treatment and other expenses. A medical malpractice attorney may represent victims in these types of cases.

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

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