Vanderbilt University Medical Center pauses gender-affirming surgeries for minors

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Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is suspending gender-affirming surgeries for minors while it considers new international guidelines on care for transgender patients, officials said Friday.

The decision comes after the center’s transgender healthcare clinic recently came under fire on social media from the GOP and religious leaders for offering services to people under the age of 18.

In a letter to Tennessee Rep. Jason Zachary (R), whom he share Publicly on his Twitter account, VUMC Deputy CEO and Health System Director C. Wright Pinson disputed claims by right-wing pundits about the clinic’s practices regarding young patients.

“Contrary to some media reports, all were at least 16 years old, none underwent genital procedures, and parental consent for these surgeries was obtained in all cases,” Pinson writes. “None of these surgeries were paid for by state or federal funds; revenue from this limited number of surgeries represents an intangible percentage of VUMC’s net operating revenue.

According to the letter, VUMC halted gender-affirming surgeries to review guidelines from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health released on September 6. The center “will also seek input from local and national clinical experts,” Pinson said.

Last month, Republican Gov. Bill Lee said VUMC should not be allowed to make “permanent life-changing decisions for children” and called for an investigation into its transgender clinic.

Most of the nation’s major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), have declared gender-affirming surgeries for minors to be appropriate medical procedures. Foregoing such treatment could have serious consequences for a patient’s mental and physical health, according to the AMA.

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