An insider at MaineHealth, the state’s largest healthcare organization, is sounding the alarm on the frequency with which transgender children who are taking hormonal pharmaceuticals show up to the hospital’s emergency room undergoing severe mental health crises.
The whistleblower’s claims were first reported by Fox News, but the Maine Wire has not been able to independently verify the sources identity or claims.
The source, who is described as being familiar with patient care information at MaineHealth, voiced their concerns to Do No Harm, an organization that seeks to protect healthcare from “radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology.”
Patients are admitted to the emergency room when urgent stabilization is needed, due to the patient being a danger to themselves or others, verbal threats of violence, hallucinations, self-harm, or attempting suicide, the source said.
“I feel like it’s kind of like [the kids’] way of screaming out, ‘Hey, look at me, I need help.’ And however, whatever issue was going on, it kind of shows itself. They could also have things like cutting behaviors or any form of like self-harm. Cutting is one of the more frequently seen ones,” the insider said.
MaineHealth runs a “Gender Clinic,” which offers puberty blockers, “gender affirming hormone therapy,” and surgical consultation to children.
“We support each individual by accepting them without judgment and letting their gender identity and expression unfold over time. We have a gender affirmative approach to treatment,” the hospital’s website states. “We do not approve of any kind of conversion therapy. We believe that trying to change a person’s gender identity is harmful.”
The “gender affirming” model of care is touted by its supporters as life-saving and necessary treatment that helps prevent trans children from considering suicide, though there’s little evidence supporting that claim.
According to the MaineHealth insider, some trans children placed on the hormone treatments experience serious psychiatric emergencies, including breaks with reality, and that children — mostly girls, and some as young as 13 — are showing up in emergency settings.
The insider also reported that some of the patients who are put into emergency care have parents who encourage the “gender affirming” treatment approach.
“Parents are encouraging this by talking to staff and saying, ‘You need to call her this boy name. This is how she identifies.’ Like telling staff that we should be doing this. Not the kid,” the source said.
The source believes that the affirming model is “cruel,” and questioned why doctors would be prescribing hormones and puberty blockers — which have known side effects of depression and anxiety — to patients taking a cocktail of psychotropic medications to handle serious mental health issues.
“There’s so many other side effects… Why would you add that to somebody who’s already struggling? It makes no sense to me. I don’t even you don’t even have to have a degree to figure that out,” the insider said.
The insider told Do No Harm that they believe hospital staff go along with the gender affirming treatment model due to other doctors doing the same, and a societal push.
“Well, the previous doctor did it, so I’m just going to transcribe that. I’m just going to continue because we don’t want to change anything cold turkey… I think a lot of times they look at the previous meds, and it’s like, ‘OK, well, I guess we’re just going to continue that.’ Without really thinking about it or really like understanding what might be going on,” the insider said. “Those things may be adding to the problem, and the fact that there’s such a social push.”
Many European countries have started to recommend psychotherapy as a treatment for gender dysphoria or gender confusion in minors rather than permanent pharmaceutical or surgical interventions.
At the same time, several U.S. states, including Maine, have expanded minors’ access to sex change drugs and surgeries.
Last month, Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law that will allow 16-year-olds to obtain puberty blocking drugs and cross sex hormones without parental knowledge, or in some cases without their permission.
The new law will allow health care professionals to provide minors with hormone treatments if the minor has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria — and will provide legal protections to medical professionals who administer the treatments to minors despite their parents’ objections.
When parents consent, sex changes can start when a child is as young as seven years old, and low-income families can have their sex change drugs and surgeries paid for by MaineCare.
A spokesperson from MaineHealth declined to comment in response to an inquiry from the Maine Wire.