Luka Hein, a young lady who regrets receiving a “radical double mastectomy” at the age of 16 to treat gender dysphoria, is suing her physicians and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) for damages.
At 16 years old, Ms. Hein was a minor when physicians from UNMC surgically removed her breasts as the first step in her so-called “gender-affirming care,” per a lawsuit filed in the District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, on Wednesday.
The Center for American Liberty legal organization on Wednesday accused doctors at UNMC of lying to Ms. Hein and her parents, and of hiding research that doesn’t support the prevailing “gender-affirming” model of care for people suffering from gender dysphoria.
“UNMC doctors deceived Luka and her parents with false promises claiming that if Luka did not undergo the removal of her breasts, she would take her own life, despite medical evidence to the contrary,” the Center for American Liberty stated. “UNMC also concealed scientific studies that do not support surgical ‘transitions’ for minors—including studies showing transgender surgeries actually increase suicidality and psychiatric morbidity.”
Ms. Hein contends in her lawsuit that doctors and her health care team at Nebraska Medicine were negligent in not questioning her self-diagnosis instead of affirming her gender identity per the prevailing “Dutch protocol.” She claims this ultimately caused her harm by encouraging her “toward irreversible chemical and surgical solutions.”
The Dutch protocol is the origin of the “gender-affirming” model of care, which Ms. Hein’s lawsuit contends conditions children toward transgender identification “by encouraging social transition, chest binding, opposite sex pronouns, cross-sex hormones and surgery,” rather than treating gender dysphoria.
In a post on Instagram earlier this year, Ms. Hein described herself as “a victim” of the “gender-affirming care system.”
“I was a young teenager with a history of mental health issues who had been groomed and preyed upon online, and as a result fell into a spiral of hatred towards both myself and my body,” she wrote.
“The medical system did not look into or seem concerned about the underlying issues that were causing the distress that made me feel the need to escape my body at such a young age,” she continued, “instead I was affirmed down a path of medical intervention that I could not fully understand the long term impacts and consequences of due to my both my age and mental health conditions.”
Her lawsuit contends that by “immediately affirming” her, the doctors “developed a type of transgender tunnel vision that blocked out the other factors that were or may have been the cause or causes of Luka’s dysphoria.”
This treatment method of affirming Ms. Hein’s new gender identity, which she now bitterly regrets, came “during a time in her life when she was going through profound personal upheaval, trauma, and distress,” according to the complaint (pdf).
Ms. Hein, the suit contends, “was simply too young to understand the irreversible implications of the transgender ‘treatment’ recommended, prescribed, and carried out” by health care workers at UNMC.
Doctors ‘Owed a Duty’ to Hein
The defendants, UNMC Physicians and the Nebraska Medical Center are “controlled affiliates” of co-defendant Nebraska Medicine, which coordinates and controls the activities of the two entities, including inpatient and outpatient hospital and physician care. The clinic is based in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.
The lawsuit specifically names Dr. Nahia “Jean” Amoura, an OB/GYN and director of the gender care clinic. It also names Dr. Perry Johnson, a plastic surgeon at the gender clinic, and Dr. Stephan Barrientos, a resident physician who allegedly assisted Dr. Johnson in removing Ms. Hein’s breasts on the alleged advice of Dr. Amoura.
Megan Smith-Sallans, a mental health therapist working in gender care, was also named in the lawsuit as working with the three physicians to allegedly “cause harm” to Ms. Hein.
Ms. Hein’s complaint contends that the physicians at UNMC, a clinic that boasts about its leadership “in ground-breaking research,” had the ability and duty to independently examine the scientific basis of the “gender-affirming” model.
“As Nebraska’s premier medical institution, and with millions of research dollars at hand, Defendants owed a duty to Luka—and the hundreds of patients like her—to independently research the underpinnings of the Dutch study before adopting its flawed protocols,” the complaint states.
‘Gender-Affirming’ Model ‘Should Have Never Been Used’
The lawsuit contends that the Dutch model “should have never been used” as justification to scale up the protocol for general use.
“But like a virus that escapes the lab, the Dutch protocol spread like a contagion due to ‘runaway diffusion,’ a phenomenon whereby innovative clinical practices are rushed to market without long-term, carefully controlled ethical research demonstrating that the benefits of the innovation outweigh the risks,” the lawsuit states.
Such a “seismic shift” away from the time-tested protocols in diagnosing patients means that “reasonably prudent” doctors have a duty to examine and assess their patients for other potential causes of distress before resorting to irreversible procedures like double mastectomy or hysterectomy, the complaint contends.
UNMC’s website boasts that it has earned a “Top Performer” designation from the Human Rights Campaign, a group that lobbies for the Dutch protocol of “gender-affirming” care.
“This means that UNMC staff do not question a patient’s self-diagnosis of transgender identification, no matter their age or the root issues from which they suffer,” the complaint states. “Rather, UNMC faculty ‘affirm’ the chosen gender identity of the patient and then undertake pharmacological and surgical interventions based on what is known as the ‘Dutch Protocol.'”
This protocol, which was based on a Dutch study of transgender patients who received hormone therapies in the early 2000s, has become the prevailing treatment method for gender dysphoria in the United States. However, multiple follow-up studies have pointed out its weaknesses.
Ms. Hein’s complaint contends that the study had no control group, that the study “cherry-picked” the patients, that the study ended with 40 percent fewer patients participating—one patient died from complications arising after he had a vagina surgically created—and that the study excluded data from patients whose treatment with puberty blockers “did not progress well.”
The complaint notes that the studies were funded by Ferring Pharmaceuticals, which produces puberty-blocking drugs and stood to profit from favorable results.
The Epoch Times contacted UNMC and Ferring Pharmaceuticals for comment.