Family Settles $440,000 Over Intersex Child’s Genital Surgery

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Citing medical bills, pain and suffering, psychological damage and impairment, the Crawford family is reaching a conclusion on their landmark four-year-long court case by settling for $440,000.

At 16 months old, doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina performed an operation on M.C. Crawford’s ambiguous genitalia to conform to a typical female appearance. Pam and Mark Crawford, who adopted M.C. when he was two, filed a lawsuit with the Medical University of South Carolina for performing an operation without informing the then-legal guardians about possible complications or alternative solutions, according to court records released Wednesday.  

MUSC will pay $270,000 to a structured settlement company which will purchase an annuity policy to pay M.C. — now 12 years old and identifying as a boy — $440,000 over a 16-year period, according to BuzzFeed News.

MUSC “denied all claims of negligence and any liability for the alleged claims but agreed to this compromise of a vigorously disputed claim to avoid the costs of litigation,” according to the settlement.

The South Carolina Department of Social Services and the Greenville Hospital System were also named in the suit. Greenville settled for $20,000 last year.

“More and more, surgeons are going to realize that they’re at risk of these suits. Nobody can say this was uncontroversial standard practice. It is controversial,” said Founder of the Intersex Society of North America Bo Laurent. “There’s no justification for continuing to impose [these surgeries] when people can’t choose.”

This settlement comes shortly after a 160-page report on the dangers of unnecessary surgery on intersex babies released by the Human Rights Watch and interACT.

“The medical community has made progress in intersex care in recent decades, but medically unnecessary irreversible surgeries on children and infants remain common,” said researcher at Human Rights Watch and report author Kyle Knight. “The pressure to fit in and live a ‘normal’ life is real, but there is no evidence that surgery delivers on the promise of making that easier, and ample evidence that it risks causing irreversible lifelong harm.”

 


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