The following comes from an Apr. 20 story in the Sacramento Bee.
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that Dignity discriminated against Evan Michael Minton, 35, a former state Capitol legislative aide, when he sought a hysterectomy as part of his transition from female to male.
Last summer, Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, part of the Dignity Health chain, abruptly canceled Minton’s surgery the day before it was scheduled to take place. His doctor eventually performed the procedure at another Sacramento-area hospital, but the initial denial still causes frustration and disappointment, Minton said. After months of reflection, he decided to take legal action against the San Francisco-based hospital chain.
“It devastated me, and I don’t want it to affect my transgender brothers and sisters the way it affected me,” Minton said Tuesday. “No one should have to go through that.”
Last August, Mercy San Juan said the procedure went against the hospital’s anti-sterilization policies, which are based on ethical and religious directives issued in 2009 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“In general, it is our practice not to provide sterilization services at Dignity Health’s Catholic facilities,” said spokeswoman Melissa Jue, in an emailed statement last August. Sterilization procedures, such as hysterectomies or tubal ligations, she said, are permitted by Catholic hospitals only to cure or alleviate a “serious pathology and (if) a simpler treatment is not available.”
After Mercy San Juan denied the hysterectomy, Minton’s surgeon said Dignity Health officials helped her obtain emergency privileges at Methodist Hospital of Sacramento, a Dignity facility that is not bound by Catholic doctrines. The hysterectomy was performed at Methodist in September.
“I don’t blame the staff,” said his surgeon, Sacramento obstetrician gynecologist Dr. Lindsey Dawson, at the time. “I don’t blame the administrators. I blame the (Catholic) doctrines.”
Minton’s hysterectomy was part of a series of surgeries to complete his transition from female to male. The Orangevale resident, who came out as transgender six years ago and has been living as a man since, has had a double mastectomy and a phalloplasty, or male organ construction surgery.
“It’s almost magical, just to be able to be congruent with who I am – to have my outer body match my inner self,” Minton said this week. “When I got my complete body, I said, ‘The rest of my life starts here.’ ”