A South Carolina couple has filed both a state medical malpractice lawsuit and a federal medical malpractice lawsuit regarding their now 8-year-old adopted child’s sex reassignment surgery that took place when the child was in foster care and the child was 16-months old (three months before the adoption was finalized).
The child was born in South Carolina in November 2004 and was placed in foster care in February 2005. Shortly after birth, the child was identified as having “ambiguous genitals” (ovotesticular disorder of sexual development), which means that the child had both male and female reproductive organs. The medical malpractice lawsuits allege that the physicians chose to perform surgery on the child that made the child look like a female, even though the child could have been raised as either a male or female, before the child’s gender identity emerged.
The child and the child’s twin sister were born prematurely and became wards of South Carolina when their mother stopped visiting them in the hospital (the father could not be contacted). The child’s sister died and the child thereafter spent more than two months in the Greenville Hospital System (one of the medical malpractice defendants in the state medical malpractice lawsuit).
The federal medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Charleston, South Carolina and alleged that the surgery violated the child’s constitutional rights – the surgery precluded the child’s potential to procreate as a male and caused a significant and permanent impairment of sexual function. The adoptive parents initially raised the child as a female but soon noticed that the child gravitated to male clothing, preferred short haircuts, enjoyed playing with a toolkit, flew model airplanes, and requested to join a boys’ gymnastics class.
The medical malpractice lawsuit filed in the South Carolina state court names the South Carolina Department of Social Services, the Greenville Hospital System, and the Medical University of South Carolina as the medical malpractice defendants and alleges gross negligence and lack of informed consent – “The doctors knew that sex assignment surgeries on infants with conditions like M.C.’s poses a significant risk of imposing a gender that is ultimately rejected by the patient.”
A couple of months ago, the couple assisted their child to transition to live as a boy and he has been accepted as a male by his friends. The couple fear that the long-term effects of the sex reassignment surgery will be detrimental to the child in the long-term because of the permanent impairment of sexual function.
If you, a family member, a loved one, or a friend have been injured or suffered other harms as a result of medical malpractice in South Carolina or in another U.S. state, it is important to promptly consult with a South Carolina malpractice attorney or a malpractice attorney in your state who may be willing to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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