Transgender Policies Put Doctors And Patients At Risk, Says Medical Group

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Aug 07, 2023 - 12:00 AM

Authored by Jackson Elliott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Today, some people who identify as transgender expect their doctors to pick up on the unspoken fact that sometimes "men" complaining of stomach pain are actually women who identify as men.

For doctors to be oblivious to—or ignore—basic human biology, such as the differences between male and female, already has caused great harm, including death, said Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, senior vice president of bioethics and public policy for the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA).

"Fortunately, those very tragic cases are rare; but they're likely to become more common," Dr. Barrows said. "So it gets to the point that we in the health care profession must keep track of the true biologic sex of the patient."

But if in the process of trying to assess and provide life-saving care, a doctor notes the biological sex of a patient—on a chart, for example—he or she can be at risk of being fired, Dr. Barrows said.

The medical field largely has accepted radical gender ideology as science, doctors told The Epoch Times.

Doctors who speak against it risk losing their jobs, Dr. Barrows said.

Differing Health Issues

In 2019, the New England Journal of Medicine described the case of a woman who had undergone procedures to look like a man. She lost her baby because doctors failed to diagnose her as pregnant.

That's just one example that illustrates how knowing and acknowledging a patient's biological sex matters.

Sometimes, the true biological sex of a person who identifies as transgender or nonbinary is not immediately obvious, even to a physician, Dr. Barrows said.

Yet "one of our members was recently fired from his position because he wrote the biologic sex [of a transgender-identifying individual] in the medical record" of the patient.

Some health issues affect men and women differently, and those issues often require very different treatments, Dr. Barrows said.

Heart attack symptoms in men, for example, most often include chest pain. Women, however, might experience nausea or heartburn.

Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, senior vice president of bioethics and public policy for the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. (Courtesy of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations)

In an emergency, a person who convincingly appears as the opposite sex, may cause a doctor to miss symptoms that would lead to a correct diagnosis in time to provide rapid treatment, Dr. Barrows said. And the misunderstanding could prove fatal.

Purely medically speaking, he said, what's "best for that transgender patient ... is for a doctor not to have to guess the sex of the patient."

It makes sense that "there must be some way to keep track of the biological sex of the patient," he said. "The best way to do that is in the medical record."

But now, with the explosion of transgenderism, some medical organizations do not allow that information to be added to a medical record. Some see its notation as disrespectful to a patient who identifies as the opposite sex.

LGBT activist groups, such as the Human Rights Campaign, advise doctors to change patient forms to avoid hurting the feelings of transgender-identifying individuals.

"Revise client forms," the group's website guidance on health care reads.

"Allow options for male/female/transgender and use neutral terms like "partner" or "spouse," rather than "single," "married," or "divorced.'

The organization, which has a powerful voice in policy-making in the United States and around the world, did not respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

Willfully introducing confusion into life-and-death situations is "insanity," Dr. Barrows said.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also suggest it's important to collect sexual orientation and gender identity information.

"Without this information, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients and their specific health care needs cannot be identified, the health disparities they experience cannot be addressed, and important health care services may not be delivered," the CDC website reads.

'Intense Pressure' on Doctors

Whether or not doctors face punishment for transgender-related issues depends on where they work, Dr. Barrows said.

Currently, a CMDA lawsuit provides a permanent injunction against the federal government firing doctors because they refuse to perform a transgender procedure.

"But outside of that, the vast majority of the pressure and coercion to perform transgender procedures is unfortunately at the local level at the local hospital or hospital system," Dr. Barrows said.

Medical professionals attending the annual Pediatric Endocrine Society conference watch demonstrators in San Diego, Calif., on May 6, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Another doctor, who asked to be identified only as Dr. Andrew, formerly worked at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Starting in 2019, he said he began facing "intense pressure" from his employer to follow policies meant to accommodate transgender patients.

The school issued a new general intake form that required patients to answer questions about gender identity and sexual behaviors in detail, he said.

Questions like these normally don't appear on intake forms because they might threaten patient confidentiality or embarrass patients, Dr. Andrew said. Physicians usually ask those questions in private, he added.

Also, for patients from some cultures, questions like this on an intake form can be seen as a grave insult, he noted.

"It was inconceivable to me that some elderly woman from Bangladesh who didn't speak English, who was brought in by her son, would be asked those sorts of questions, often by her children," Dr. Andrew said.

He said VCU's administration pressured students to introduce themselves by announcing preferred gender pronouns and that the school taught students to ask patients for their preferred gender pronouns.

Dr. Andrew was eventually fired for "poor clinic performance," he said, even though patients consistently gave him five-star ratings.

"I think it's coming from the accrediting agencies, as well as within medical education," he said. "So you're seeing it all over the country. You're seeing it on the national level."

The Epoch Times reached out to university officials for comment and was told one would be available by Aug. 3. No further communication was received.

Differing Approaches of States

State laws determine a doctor's right to refuse to perform certain procedures or provide certain treatments, Dr. Barrows said.

Florida doctors are empowered by legislation for medical freedom signed in 2023 by Gov. Ron DeSantis, presently a Republican presidential candidate.

The landmark legislation "safeguards the free speech of doctors" and "provides a path for doctors to protect their license from medical accreditation boards that are attempting to punish them for speaking out against the medical establishment," according to the governor's office.

Other states take a different stance.

New Mexico, California, and Oregon encourage overruling a doctor's conscientious objection, he said.

"I would be quite fearful that I could be put into a position where I am forced to do something against my conscience and not have nearly the legal protection that I would like to have," Dr. Barrows said.

The transgender medicine field affects many medical specialties. Family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, dermatology, urology, plastic surgery, and internal medicine all can encounter issues related to transgenderism.

"It's hard to find a field that you could enter and deal with people that would not in some way be touched by the transgender issue," Dr. Barrows said.

Christian doctors in all these specialties must carefully consider local laws before they decide where to work. Doctors of other religious faiths can face the same struggle, he said.

Being forced to perform procedures to further a patient's transgender identity can go against deeply held religious beliefs, causing great distress for these doctors, Dr. Barrows said.

"I had a student that was very frustrated because they had actually been called in to help with hysterectomies on women that were identifying as male," Dr. Barrows said. "Their uteruses were perfectly normal. They had done more of those procedures than they had delivered babies."

The Transhuman Movement

Transgenderism is likely the vanguard of medical movements aiming to change humanity, Dr. Barrows said.

He predicts that medicine and technology to make people "transhuman"—or beyond human—is just around the corner. Experts have expressed similar concerns to The Epoch Times.

The annual Pride March in New York City on June 25, 2023. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

That way of thinking is in opposition to the idea of medicine, Dr. Barrows said. "The goals of medicine should be healing, restoration of health, and palliation, the limitation of suffering within the dying process.

"Medicine is never meant to be involved in the commodification of anybody."

Commodification is the process of treating something as a commodity that can be bought and sold. People concerned about transhumanism say the transgender movement has turned human body parts into a commodity.

Even so, says Dr. Barrows, few doctors have fought back against the transgender movement.

"I think the vast majority are just keeping their heads down, doing what they can to avoid it because they don't want to get too engaged and lose their job," he said.

Many older doctors believe they can dodge the transgender issue until retirement, he said. But young doctors face an ideological obstacle course that may last the next several decades.

Dr. Barrows sympathizes with the struggle they'll have in choosing how to best care for patients while avoiding "cancellation" for not embracing transgenderism.

"My heart really goes out to those that are relatively young and new in the health care profession."