Friday, September 02, 2016

Catholic Hospital Denies Transgender Man a Hysterectomy on Religious Grounds
For Evan Minton, the hysterectomy was a step toward becoming his “most authentic self.” The surgery, scheduled to take place on Tuesday of this week, would pave the way for a phalloplasty that Minton had set for November. He needed three months to recover between the two surgeries.

“For transgender people there’s all sorts of ways that they take to be their most authentic self, and for me, my journey dictates that I have medical intervention,” Minton, 35, told Rewire. “At this point in the path my body is calling out for bottom surgery.”

According to Minton, a hospital representative called him on Sunday to review pre- and post-operative instructions. Minton asked that a note be made in his records about his use of male pronouns.

Then on Monday, a day before the surgery, Minton’s doctor called to deliver the news: the surgery was cancelled. The Catholic hospital where it was set to take place—Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, California—said Minton’s hysterectomy would conflict with its religious rules.

Minton said he was “heartbroken.”

“I was in my parents’ bedroom, and I threw myself on the floor, just crying uncontrollably … because it hurt so bad, and then also because the timeline of this procedure is so important,” Minton said. “The waiting list to get the phalloplasty, if I were to reschedule, is anywhere from nine months to two years out.”

Minton’s doctor, Lindsey Dawson, said it was difficult breaking the news to Minton.

“I went into the other room and cried for a minute,” Dawson told Rewire.

Dawson says she has performed many hysterectomies at the same hospital. In fact, Dawson says the hospital declined to cancel another hysterectomy she had scheduled for that same day.

“In general, it is our practice not to provide sterilization services at Dignity Health’s Catholic facilities in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) and the medical staff bylaws,” a Dignity Health spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available.”

Catholic hospitals make up a growing percentage of the health-care landscape, with one in six acute-care hospital beds nationwide now in Catholic-owned or -affiliated facilities. Generally, these institutions follow religious directives issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which restrict access to reproductive health care and describe abortion and “direct sterilization” as “intrinsically evil.”

“I know the Catholic directives very well,” Dawson told Rewire. “I read them again before I scheduled Evan’s case, and there was nothing that I could see in there that precluded this case from happening, because, of course, I think dysphoria is a serious and present pathology.”

That’s also how Minton describes it.

“The longer that I wait to take the next step, the dysphoria heightens, and so what this dysphoria feels like is, I want to crawl out of my skin,” Minton said. “And sometimes I can feel the regions on my body that are female, and it feels so extremely uncomfortable. It’s a horrendous nightmare that I don’t wish anyone else to have to go through.”...
pathology |pəˈTHäləjē|
noun
the science of the causes and effects of diseases, especially the branch of medicine that deals with the laboratory examination of samples of body tissue for diagnostic or forensic purposes.
• Medicine pathological features considered collectively; the typical behavior of a disease: the pathology of Huntington's disease.
• Medicine a pathological condition: the dominant pathology is multiple sclerosis.
• mental, social, or linguistic abnormality or malfunction: the city's inability to cope with the pathology of a burgeoning underclass.
The example in the last ("a burgeoning underclass") surprised me. You can see the dip in popularity beginning in the early 80s.

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