SAN DIEGO — A mother has filed suit against a children's hospital in San Diego for alleged disability discrimination, gender discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress pertaining to treatment her transgender son received there.
Katharine Prescott filed a complaint Sept. 26 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego, alleging that the medical facility committed an unlawful, unfair and/or fraudulent business acts and practices.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on April 5, 2015, her minor child, a 14-year-old transgender boy, was admitted at defendant's hospital for a 72-hour hold due to his suicidal ideation related to gender dysphoria. At this time, the minor had already received a legal name and gender change, thus, the constant reminder from the plaintiff to exclusively address her child as a male to alleviate his distress, the suit claims. However, the staff acted otherwise and allegedly blocked the plaintiff's phone number. Given the minor's worsening condition, his therapist purportedly decided to discharge him earlier than 72 hours, but he continued to feel angry, humiliated, anxious and depressed as a result of the discriminatory treatment he was subjected to, the suit claims. On May 18, 2015, the transgender boy died by suicide, court documents state.
The plaintiff holds Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to provide public accommodations free from discrimination based on disability or gender identity, failed to respect the rights of patients with mental health conditions and failed to provide safeguards to ensure that treatment procedures are appropriate and effective.
The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment in her favor, compensatory damages, restitution, injunctive relief, punitive damages not less than $4,000, attorneys' fees, statutory costs, expenses and further relief as the court may deem just. She is represented by Eileen R. Ridley and Alan R. Ouellette of Foley & Lardner LLP in San Francisco, Kathryn A. Shoemaker of Foley & Lardner LLP in Los Angeles, Amy Whelan and Asaf Orr of National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco and Alison Pennington and Ilona Turner of Transgender Law Center in Oakland.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California case number 3:16-cv-02408