Lawyers say vulnerable patients were guinea pigs for a radical new AAP treatment model their doctors knew was based on lies and misrepresentations.
The tiny state of Rhode Island is becoming a huge legal battleground in the war over “gender-affirming care.” In separate lawsuits filed late last month against the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and leading Rhode Island healthcare providers, two female detransitioners claim sex-altering drugs prescribed by their doctors permanently ruined their health.
Ayala says her doctors at Rhode Island’s Hasbro Children’s hospital experimented on children using the AAP’s radical treatment model—a model they allegedly knew was based on lies and misrepresentations.
According to the lawsuit, the new policy allegedly did away with longstanding pediatric protocol known as “watchful waiting,” which allowed gender-dysphoric children to naturally progress through puberty while treating them with counseling and psychotherapy rather than sex-altering drugs.
In its place, the current AAP policy advises doctors to “affirm” a child’s stated desire to change genders by prescribing puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones.
A group of self-interested doctors allegedly pushed the aggressive, “no-questions-asked” gender-affirming care policy. “The AAP thought trans was the next civil rights crusade and got boondoggled by enthusiastic young doctors,” said one of the longtime AAP members quoted in the complaint. “There was clearly no fact-checking,” he said.
The pediatricians’ group allegedly disregarded its own internal procedures to institute the policy.
From the complaint:
Instead of supporting the conclusions and recommendations contained in the policy statement with scientific evidence, they fraudulently and misleadingly cited evidence that did not support any of their conclusions and recommendations, and they knowingly misrepresented the known risks and dangers of some of the medical interventions the policy statement promoted.
Maybe that’s why the policy drafting committee included a curious statement disclaiming responsibility for its own guidance. It assigned that responsibility to one member, Dr. Jason Rafferty, who was then still a medical resident.
According to the AAP 2018 policy statement, if anything goes wrong, arguably he’s the guy responsible:
Dr. Rafferty conceptualized the statement, drafted the initial manuscript, reviewed and revised the manuscript, approved the final manuscript, and agrees to be accountable for all aspects of the work (emphasis added).
And it was Rafferty—now allegedly “operating under the imprimatur of the authority he falsely created”—to whom Ayala and her father turned when, at the age of fourteen, she became suicidal over her discomfort with being born a girl instead of a boy, the lawsuit says.
Like so many other gender-dysphoric children, Ayala was a wreck when she first visited the gender pediatric team at Rhode Island’s Hasbro Children’s Hospital, as described in the complaint. A vulnerable, troubled teenager from a broken home and a victim of sexual assault, she allegedly presented with a bewildering array of mental health issues: anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as previously diagnosed ADHD.
Given her complicated profile, wisdom would seem to dictate “watchful waiting.” But the lawsuit says that Rafferty went full-steam ahead. After an allegedly brief visit with Ayala, he prescribed the cross-sex hormones he believed would “radically alter her body, yet somehow cure her underlying depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other comorbidities.”
He was wrong, according to the complaint. The plaintiff says her mental health deteriorated as the clinic’s doctors accelerated the testosterone treatments, tripling her dosage without her mother’s knowledge or consent. Reading through the complaint, it’s hard to understand how Rafferty could report in good faith that Ayala “continued to do well on testosterone with no adverse effects.” It got so bad, the complaint alleges, that after several months of “gender-affirming care” and worsening depression, Ayala tried to kill herself.
The good news, according to the complaint, is that she gradually grew out of her gender dysphoria when she quit the cross-sex treatments and left the clinic. But the alleged damage was done—and irreversible: It includes vaginal atrophy, permanent changes in her voice, excess facial and body hair, and compromised bone structure, anxiety and depression, as well as the onset of an autoimmune disease previously known only to the males in her family.
Ayala’s lawsuit was filed in Rhode Island state court and seeks damages for those harms, alleging civil conspiracy, fraud, and malpractice against the AAP and her doctors.
The NYPost reported that Fox News Digital reached out to the American Academy of Pediatrics for a comment but had not received a response.
Female detransitioner Hannah (a.k.a. Layton) Ulery also filed a lawsuit in the same court alleging malpractice against two of the same high-profile physicians who treated Ayala, Dr. Rafferty and Dr. Michelle Forcier.
If they win, it will be a victory not only for the plaintiffs, but for “untold other patients … being experimented on as these Defendants tested out the radical new treatment model”—a reckless, fraudulent, unscientific treatment plan for which no one will accept responsibility.
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