Monday, August 2, 2010

Indiana hospital ridicules transwoman and refuses treatment

Add this story to my long list of "Why I am so happy to be finally moving away from Indiana":
Erin Vaught went to a Muncie emergency room coughing up blood. Two hours later, she was refused treatment on grounds that she is transsexual. In what is a serious lapse of medical ethics, and had Vaught died, would have been criminal negligence, Ball Memorial Hospital staff treated Vaught with contempt, ridicule, and even eventually met with dismissal of her condition.

It stated when the admitting nurse at the ER entered that Vaught was male into the computer despite the fact that her ID stated that she is female. Vaught stated “I pointed out that my ID says female. There were two ladies there, and one of them snickered a little bit and covered her mouth. The other got a very annoyed look on her face. Vaught was there with her wife and son.

When she went to the exa-room, she was met with stares and insults. She was referred to as a ‘he-she’, an ‘it’, and a ‘transvestite’. Vaught is a transsexual, or one who is physically undergoing the process of changing physical sex. Transvestites are people who often get sexually aroused while wearing the clothes of the opposite gender, but have no desire to change sexes.

The doctor arrives two hours later and said that she could not treat Vaught because of “her transgender condition”. According to Vaught “I was confused. I told them I didn’t know my condition, that’s why I was there. She said ‘No, the transvestite thing.’ She said I couldn’t see a doctor until I came back with test orders from my doctor in Indy.” What her exact condition is has not been released.

It's so sad that people who make their living out of helping others and saving lives would be so cruel to someone based on their gender identity. Even if for whatever reason you don't agree with or understand transsexuals, that doesn't mean you should deny them medical treatment. Maybe since she was transitioning that posed valid medical concerns that this particular hospital's staff was not specialized enough to deal with, but that doesn't excuse the insensitivity of their statements.

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