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BREAKING: 5th Lawsuit Filed in US Against Medical Transition of Minors
Luka Hein emerges as the fifth U.S. detransitioner to pursue legal action against the medical professionals that facilitated her transition as a minor.
A fifth lawsuit involving childhood medical transition against a U.S. healthcare provider is underway.
Luka Hein, a 21-year-old woman from Nebraska, underwent medical transition as a teenager. The complaint, filed on her behalf, alleges that starting at age 16, she had a double mastectomy after only two doctor appointments and was subsequently placed on testosterone. The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and the clinicians responsible for her transition are named as defendants.
The Center for American Liberty, Nebraska malpractice attorney Jeff Downing, and the Thomas More Society are representing Hein. They claim medical malpractice, asserting that the interventions left Hein "physically and psychologically scarred." Additionally, a tort claim is being filed on Hein's behalf against the Board of Regents at the University of Nebraska by the Center for American Liberty and Jeff Downing.
“I was going through the darkest and most chaotic time in my life, and instead of being given the help I needed, these doctors affirmed that chaos into reality,” said Hein in a press release. “I was talked into medical interventions that I could not fully understand the long-term impacts and consequences of.”
The complaint chronicles Hein’s story, beginning in 2015 at age 13, when her parents got divorced. This upheaval took a toll on her school performance in 2016, as persistent anxiety and panic attacks disrupted her focus. Despite efforts like counseling and medication, Hein's mental well-being deteriorated, leading to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
In 2017, her situation was further compounded when she was preyed upon online. This traumatizing episode not only deepened her existing mental struggles but also led her to re-evaluate her own identity. Hein came across transgender influencers online who praised the benefits of hormones and surgeries. Influenced by her online research and interactions, Hein began considering transitioning, thinking it might offer relief from her intense emotional and psychological distress.
At 15, during Hein's initial visit to a gender clinic in 2018, she was quickly recommended for breast removal surgery after hastily being diagnosed with “gender identity disorder.” Despite their reservations, Hein's parents felt pressured to consent due to concerns about potential suicide threats, even though Hein had shown no signs of suicidal ideation for nearly a year before the surgery. Ahead of the operation, concerns about its appropriateness for Hein's age and her multiple personal challenges were largely ignored or downplayed.
At 16, Hein underwent a double mastectomy to remove her healthy breasts. The complaint suggests that, given her young age and complex psycho-social situation, Hein wasn't equipped to provide informed consent for such a permanent procedure. A few months post-operation, she began a testosterone regimen. The suit posits that she wasn't adequately briefed on the prolonged side effects of cross-sex hormones.
A year into the testosterone treatment, her physician proposed a partial hysterectomy as the “next step in her transition.” Hein's parents vehemently opposed this idea and ultimately withheld permission for the surgery.
Hein remained on testosterone under her physician’s advice for four years, which resulted in “substantial damage to her mental and physical health.” By 2022, she discontinued testosterone due to its harmful effects.
In 2023, during a telemedicine consultation, when Hein voiced her regret about the treatments, her physician's response was reportedly dismissive, suggesting, "I guess this is just part of your gender journey," with the only advice being to pursue mental health counseling.
The lawsuit claims the defendants acted negligently, did not adhere to professional standards, and failed to secure genuinely informed consent. It underscores that, given the rapid onset of Hein’s gender dysphoria and her known psychosocial challenges, there was no concrete proof her transgender identity would persist in the long-term.
Central to the complaint is the assertion that both Hein and her parents weren't provided complete information on the treatments, were manipulated during the consent process, and were unjustly pressured with implied suicide risks. The lawsuit stresses Hein's incapacity to consent, given her youth and mental health. It further asserts that any negligence by individual defendants associated with Nebraska Medicine is directly attributed to that entity. Hein is seeking damages for various physical, emotional, and financial hardships. She is requesting a jury trial and compensation for damages, legal fees, and related expenses.
Hein’s legal team is also charging that the defendants are in violation of the Nebraska Consumer Protection Act by their use of “deceptive descriptions to market their ‘services’ to impressionable teens.”
Hein's complaint represents the twelfth instance globally where a detransitioner has pursued legal action against their medical facilitators. In the U.S., she is the fifth individual to seek legal recourse for transitioning procedures that began while she was a minor.
The Center for American Liberty also represents Chloe Cole and Layla Jane, two other young detransitioned women seeking legal action against the same institutions and doctors for facilitating their transitions as minors. In April 2023, Campbell Miller Payne, PLLC, a newly-established firm, started representing detransitioners. Prisha Mosley and Soren Aldaco, both young women who began their transitions as minors, were among their first clients, each filing claims in July.
While the exact number of detransitioners is unknown, and more research is needed, cases appear to be steadily rising. Current data suggests that 10-30% of individuals detransition approximately 4-8 years after starting their transition. A recent US-based comprehensive review of medical records that found 30% of teens and young adults had discontinued “gender-affirming” hormones after 4 years. Another US study from this year that challenges the notion that detransition is rare found that 29% of youth changed their requests for hormone treatment, surgery, or both.
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