Enabling insanity: Former case worker blows whistle on transgender clinic at children’s hospital

by WorldTribune Staff, February 12, 2023

A woman who formerly worked at a clinic for transgender youth has blown the whistle on gender-related treatments offered to minors at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

In a Feb. 9 op-ed for The Free Press, Jamie Reed, details how, in her time working at the Washington University Transgender Center at the children’s hospital in St. Louis, doctors at the facility fast-tracked life-altering treatments and surgeries for young patients and did so with little regard for parental rights.

Reed, a “queer woman” who is “politically left of Bernie Sanders,” said she resigned from her position at the clinic in November “because I could no longer participate in what was happening there. By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to ‘do no harm.’ Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care.”

Reed noted that, soon after she left the clinic, she saw Rachel Levine, the trans woman who is the nation’s chief health officer, speaking about “gender-affirming care” and knew then that she had to act.

The article which quoted Levine read: “Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health, said that clinics are proceeding carefully and that no American children are receiving drugs or hormones for gender dysphoria who shouldn’t.”

Reed wrote that she “felt stunned and sickened. It wasn’t true. And I know that from deep first-hand experience.”

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said he will investigate the hospital over alleged medical malpractice in connection with gender-related treatments offered to minors.

In a Thursday letter, Hawley wrote to university administrators and hospital staff instructing them to preserve documents related to such treatments.

“Accountability is coming. Today, my office is launching an investigation into the Center’s treatment practices in order to present American taxpayers and parents with all the facts relevant to policymaking and medical treatment decisions,” he wrote to Washington University in St. Louis Chancellor Andrew D. Martin and St. Louis Children’s Hospital President Trish M. Lollo.

“Starting immediately, your institutions must take steps to preserve all records, written and electronic, regarding gender-related treatments performed on minors since the opening of the Center,” he instructed them.

Reed noted that she was coming forward despite “knowing how toxic the public conversation is around this highly contentious issue — and the ways that my testimony might be misused. I am doing so knowing that I am putting myself at serious personal and professional risk. Almost everyone in my life advised me to keep my head down. But I cannot in good conscience do so. Because what is happening to scores of children is far more important than my comfort. And what is happening to them is morally and medically appalling.”

Doing intake for new patients and their families was part of Reed’s job at the clinic.

“When I started there were probably 10 such calls a month. When I left there were 50, and about 70 percent of the new patients were girls. Sometimes clusters of girls arrived from the same high school,” Reed wrote. … The girls who came to us had many comorbidities: depression, anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, obesity. Many were diagnosed with autism, or had autism-like symptoms.”

Reed continued: “Frequently, our patients declared they had disorders that no one believed they had. We had patients who said they had Tourette syndrome (but they didn’t); that they had tic disorders (but they didn’t); that they had multiple personalities (but they didn’t).

“The doctors privately recognized these false self-diagnoses as a manifestation of social contagion. They even acknowledged that suicide has an element of social contagion. But when I said the clusters of girls streaming into our service looked as if their gender issues might be a manifestation of social contagion, the doctors said gender identity reflected something innate.

“To begin transitioning, the girls needed a letter of support from a therapist—usually one we recommended—who they had to see only once or twice for the green light. To make it more efficient for the therapists, we offered them a template for how to write a letter in support of transition. The next stop was a single visit to the endocrinologist for a testosterone prescription.

“That’s all it took.

“When a female takes testosterone, the profound and permanent effects of the hormone can be seen in a matter of months. Voices drop, beards sprout, body fat is redistributed. Sexual interest explodes, aggression increases, and mood can be unpredictable. Our patients were told about some side effects, including sterility. But after working at the center, I came to believe that teenagers are simply not capable of fully grasping what it means to make the decision to become infertile while still a minor.”

Reed noted that a further “disturbing aspect” of what was transpiring at the clinic “was its lack of regard for the rights of parents — and the extent to which doctors saw themselves as more informed decision-makers over the fate of these children.”

Under Missouri law, only one parent’s consent is required for treatment of their child.

“But when there was a dispute between the parents, it seemed the center always took the side of the affirming parent,” Reed wrote. “My concerns about this approach to dissenting parents grew in 2019 when one of our doctors actually testified in a custody hearing against a father who opposed a mother’s wish to start their 11-year-old daughter on puberty blockers. I had done the original intake call, and I found the mother quite disturbing. She and the father were getting divorced, and the mother described the daughter as ‘kind of a tomboy.’ So now the mother was convinced her child was trans. But when I asked if her daughter had adopted a boy’s name, if she was distressed about her body, if she was saying she felt like a boy, the mother said no. I explained the girl just didn’t meet the criteria for an evaluation.

“Then a month later, the mother called back and said her daughter now used a boy’s name, was in distress over her body, and wanted to transition. This time the mom and daughter were given an appointment. Our providers decided the girl was trans and prescribed a puberty blocker to prevent her normal development. The father adamantly disagreed, said this was all coming from the mother, and a custody battle ensued. After the hearing where our doctor testified in favor of transition, the judge sided with the mother.”

Reed said she began to write down “everything I could about my experience at the Transgender Center.”

In January, she sent a letter to Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey.

“He is a Republican. I am a progressive. But the safety of children should not be a matter for our culture wars,” Reed wrote.

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