A transgender teenager has killed himself after hospital employees repeatedly misgendered him while he was placed in suicide watch.
Kyler Prescott was just 14 when he committed suicide, and had struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time. He was admitted to the Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego in the weeks before his death and was placed in the facilities’ 72 hour suicide watch hold.
But, the staff demonstrated both staggering ineptitude and cruelty by repeatedly misgendering him and calling him a girl, and he “went into a spiral”.
His mother Katherine Prescott, said: “He was frantic. They were making him worse. They were completely traumatizing him.”
Katherine filed a civil lawsuit against the hospital in the US District Court in Southern California this week, claiming that medical personnel violated federal and state laws that protect against discrimination.
When speaking to the Washington Post, Katherine said: “When my son was in despair, I entrusted Rady Children’s Hospital with his safety and well-being. Hospitals are supposed to be safe places that help people when they’re in need.”
“Instead of recovering at the hospital, Kyler got worse because staff continued to traumatize him by repeatedly treating him as a girl and ignoring his serious health issues. It’s painful to speak out, but I want to make sure no other parent or child ever has to go through this again.”
The lawsuit is claiming that even though Katherine was assured that Kyler would be referred to with the proper pronouns, they failed to do so. In fact, the lawsuit alleges that one employee said to Kyler: “Honey, I would call you a ‘he,’ but you’re such a pretty girl.”
The lawsuit further states: “Kyler was severely harmed by RCHSD staff’s repeated misgendering, as a result of RCHSD’s failure to respect and affirm his male gender and his gender dysphoria. Kyler’s distress was compounded by Katharine’s inability to advocate for or console her son as a result of RCHSD’s blocking Katharine’s phone calls.”
Katherine’s accusations are especially serious for this particular facility, as the Rady Children’s Hospital has a Gender Management Clinic which is meant to help people with gender dysphoria.
The hospital said that it is their “top priority is providing the absolute highest level of care to our patients and families. While it is the policy of Rady Children’s not to comment on pending legal matters, any allegations of wrongdoing, including discrimination, are investigated thoroughly and followed up on.”
Our hearts break for Kyler, who was placed here with a hope of getting better but was instead treated extremely poorly and was pushed to the breaking point by people who were there to help him. Here’s hoping that no person or family has to go through this again.