As a whistleblower’s claims remain under investigation, a top law enforcement official is urging The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital not to start new patients on puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones.
The university has acknowledged it is “alarmed” and was launching its own internal review of allegations made in ex-worker Jamie Reed’s 3,500-word expose’ in The Free Press.
Reed stated in a video conference on Feb. 9 that closure of the clinic, where she worked for four years, seems to be the only way to ensure children are no longer harmed there.
In a letter to officials connected to the center, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) declared: “If even a fraction of the whistleblower’s new allegations is corroborated, the Center should be immediately shut down.”
Reed also advocates a national moratorium on medical procedures for transgender minors because of “the secrecy and lack of rigorous standards that characterize youth gender transition across the country,” Reed wrote.
She is believed to be the nation’s first person to reveal the inner workings of a pediatric transgender clinic. Such centers used to be rare. Now there are more than 100 across the United States, and her revelations have left many people wondering how many other clinics could be conducting business the way Reed described.
In a sworn statement filed with Missouri General Andrew Bailey’s office, Reed said the St. Louis center continued prescribing gender-transitioning medications even after parents revoked consent and after adverse effects. She also described other practices that she said were disturbing, inappropriate, and harmful to children.
Hours after Reed’s account was published, the university issued a statement.
Her allegations left officials “alarmed” by the “practices and behaviors” that she said she witnessed, the university said.
“We are taking this matter very seriously and have already begun the process of looking into the situation to ascertain the facts,” the university said. “As always, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our patients. We are committed to providing compassionate, family-centered care to all of our patients, and we hold our medical practitioners to the highest professional and ethical standards.”
Julie Hail Flory, a university spokeswoman, told The Epoch Times in an email that the university had nothing additional to say on Feb. 10.
On that date, Bailey sent a letter to two officials: Trish Lollo, hospital president, and Andrew Martin, university chancellor. Referencing the university’s statement, Bailey wrote: “Given your agreement that these allegations are alarming and warrant thorough investigation, the Center should not continue prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to new patients while these investigations progress.”
He wants to know by Feb. 14 whether the center will comply with that request “to ensure that no more children are harmed during the pendency of these investigations.” Bailey also is asking to receive a copy of the internal investigation when it is complete.
His investigation is focusing on whether hundreds of children were harmed. Two other agencies are also investigating whether medical personnel should face discipline or whether procedures were inappropriately billed to government programs.
On Feb. 9, Hawley sent a letter to Lollo and Martin. Hawley directed them to “take steps to preserve all records … regarding gender-related treatments performed on minors since the opening of the Center.”
Calling Reed’s account “extraordinary,” Hawley said her report “presented substantial evidence that, like so many other pediatric gender clinics across the United States, this Missouri-based clinic appears to have been operating without transparency, oversight, and accountability—and causing devastating harm to children in the process.”
Hawley vowed: “Accountability is coming.” His office immediately began investigating the center’s treatment practices, which allegedly included “manipulation of minors and their parents by professionals at the Center.”
Reed’s report “builds on revelations that the Center counseled authorities to conceal information from parents regarding their children’s cross-gender identification,” Hawley said.
He cited a Jan. 17 news story that reported the Center was encouraging teachers at Parkway School District in St. Louis County to keep parents in the dark about girls binding their breasts so they would appear more masculine. Chest-binding has been known to cause pain and even injuries. “Encouraging teachers to lie to children’s parents is unconscionable.”
He then directed the center to “immediately” answer questions about the number of minors treated at the center, the types of treatment they received, complication rates, and other information.
Hawley said he also wants to know: “What policy, if any, does the Center have to inform minor patients and their parents about the known medical risks associated with gender-related treatment?”