Gender reassignment for intersex child, potential surgical errors

| Aug 27, 2015 | surgical errors

It may be surprising to know that one in every 2,000 babies are born intersex, according to the Intersex Society of North America. It is common for doctors to assign a sex to these children before the child has a chance to decide for him or herself. It could happen in Delaware, but adoptive parents in another state are suing doctors for performing gender reassignment surgery, calling it genital mutilation. Although these types of procedures may not fit the usual definitions of surgical errors, the major error could be in the doctors’ decision to assign a gender in the first place.

A couple in another state is suing the doctors who performed gender reassignment surgery on their adopted son. The child was born with both a penis and vaginal opening, an undescended testicle, and both ovarian and testicular tissue. At 16 months, when the boy was in foster care, and only a few months before the couple adopted him, doctors deemed the intersex child a female and performed the surgery to officially assign the child female.

Now at age 10, the child is clearly identifying as a male. The parents feel there was no medical need to assign the child a gender before he could identify himself. The adoptive parents allege that the doctors performed genital mutilation. They believe the doctors violated their son’s constitutional rights by essentially assigning his gender.

Though this is the first lawsuit of its kind, there are many other children that have been and will continue to be born intersex and may need their rights protected. Delaware medical malpractice victims have the right to sue for damages caused by surgical errors, which may include errors in judgment as to whether or not surgery is even necessary. A successful lawsuit could result in monetary compensation for the victim and his or her family. A successful lawsuit may also provide the feeling that justice has been served and potentially bring change to help prevent future occurrences.

Source: medicaldaily.com, “Gender Reassignment Surgery: Parents Sue Doctors For Making Their Intersex Child A Girl, Claiming Genital Mutilation“, Kristin Magaldi, August 13, 2015