Some employees at a top Tennessee hospital were relieved to learn last week it will freeze transgender surgeries on minors, but told The Daily Wire only a law can ensure the practice, which can include the removal of a minor girls’ breasts, ends for good.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) suspended pediatric gender surgeries under pressure from state lawmakers. But three medical professionals who work or have worked at VUMC, all speaking on the condition of anonymity, were skeptical the pause would become permanent.
“Vanderbilt is a liberal-led institution, and anytime anybody lets pressure off they’ll continue to push these types of procedures,” one source told The Daily Wire.
“It won’t stop until it’s banned by law in this state,” a second source said.
Last month, the footage shared by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh of a VUMC doctor referring to irreversible transgender surgeries as “huge money makers” prompted the sources to come forward. Each source said they were extremely uncomfortable with transgender surgeries on minors being performed at the hospital, and that many of their colleagues were as well, but feared retaliation from the hospital if they were to speak up with their name.
“Many of us…aren’t okay with what is happening,” a third source said.
In a statement announcing the pause, VUMC said they’ve performed double mastectomy surgeries on girls “at least 16 years of age” on “an average of 5 per year” since their pediatric gender clinic’s inception in 2018. But a source told The Daily Wire that they have first-hand knowledge that at least 10 minors have received double-mastectomies this year — double what VUMC says is their average.
The Daily Wire has not been able to independently confirm these figures.
VUMC also recently released a statement saying its policies do “allow employees to decline to participate in care they find morally objectionable” and do not allow for discrimination against them — a statement one of the sources took issue with.
“I was never asked,” the medical professional said of the hospital’s response. “I was never offered an opt out.”
VUMC’s gender-affirmation model aligns with the “standard of care” deployed by pediatric gender clinics across the country. The standards discourage medical professionals from questioning a minor’s self-reported transgender identity or exploring possible underlying factors that may be causing their dysphoria.
VUMC’s pediatric gender clinic is one of hundreds that have opened up in North America in recent years to meet the growing demand of teens seeking gender-related procedures. A recent Reuters investigation found that between 2019-2021, at least 776 mastectomies were performed in the U.S. on patients ages 13 to 17 who identified as transgender, likely a “significant undercount” since the review only examined insurance claims.
“We’re creating a bigger problem by ‘affirming’ instead of treating the root of the problem: why someone feels gender dysphoric to begin with,” a source said. “I dont know of any other diagnosis where we affirm instead of treat. We don’t affirm dementia patients of their belief that it’s really the 1940s and we don’t affirm schizophrenic patients of their belief that they’re being spied on.”
When it comes to genital surgeries, such as vaginoplasty, which can be performed on 18-year-olds, the source expressed the opinion, “complications seem to be the rule, not the exception.”
Walsh also shared video of Vanderbilt health law expert Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton saying objections to gender surgery for religious or other reasons should have “consequences.”
“I just want you to take home that saying that you’re not going to do something because of your religious beliefs is not without consequences and it should not be without consequences,” Wright Clayton said at a 2019 lecture, titled, “Gender Confirmation Surgery: Anesthesia, Surgical and Ethical Considerations.”
“If you don’t want to do this kind of work, don’t work at Vanderbilt,” Wright Clayton added.
A source who attended the lecture told The Daily Wire they felt threatened when Wright Clayton said there should be consequences. Another source recalled, “I just remember thinking, ‘how dare you.’ I’ve done everything I should do and there’s this woman up here telling me that if I disagree with this, that I should go somewhere else or get fired.”
“It was shocking that nobody in the administration or in the department challenged that.”
The source said a lot of people complained about what happened. “But they complained anonymously because they’re afraid of blowback,” the source said. “There’s a lot of people uncomfortable with it. But if it makes a lot of money, they’re going to go for it,” the source opined. “I applaud Matt Walsh and the team there. I hope they don’t let this go.”