Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Parents sue for malpractice for child's surgery

While Pittsburgh hospitals and those throughout the state may perform sex reassignment surgery, it is a rare procedure for several reasons. Doctors are usually reluctant to rush a patient into this type of life-altering procedure without substantial counseling and other intervention. This ensures that the patient understands the implications of the surgery. However, doctors in South Carolina are being sued for medical malpractice for performing sex reassignment surgery on a 16-month-old child.

The story began when a child was born with both sets of sex organs, a condition known as hermaphroditism. The child was removed from parental custody for various reasons, and the state of South Carolina took over the guardianship. A doctor began to propose the idea of sex assignment surgery to make the child a female, claiming that the child needed a decision regarding gender needed to be made. He was supported by two colleagues and the procedure was agreed to by the Department of Social Services.

The surgery was performed when the child was 16 months of age. The adoptive parents adopted the child immediately after the surgery and are now filing suit against the doctors, hospital and state. They claim that the surgery was premature, given that the child, who is now 8 years old, has identified as a male. They also claim that the child suffered unnecessary pain and trauma due to the surgery. They believe that the state should have stopped the procedure and are including them in the lawsuit as well.

Victims who have been injured by surgical errors may be represented by a medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice victims may be entitled to payment of medical expenses, lost wages and other costs associated with the surgery as well as payment of sums for compensation for pain and suffering.

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

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