In legal terms, medical malpractice is a huge umbrella under which a large number of situations can fall. Anything from surgical error to medical negligence can be considered medical malpractice under the right conditions. There are also a number of unusual cases that could be considered medical malpractice.
One somewhat unusual case is being considered a landmark achievement for intersex individuals across the country. The case focuses on a child from South Carolina who is intersex. He was given surgery in his youth in order to physically bring him closer to resembling a girl. The parents of the child adopted him from an agency. They then raised him as a girl until his insistence that he was a boy caused them to look further into his stay at the adoption center. It was then discovered that the social service officials and doctors decided to put him through corrective surgery shortly after his parents lost custody.
Unfortunately, this is an all too common practice when it comes to intersex children. Many parents and doctors decide to perform corrective surgery without their child’s consent. In fact, in many places, this is encouraged by family, friends or even the doctors themselves. Surgery is usually considered a drastic step and even the surgeries that intersex children go through can have long-lasting and potentially serious consequences. However, many suggest it in order to give the family a way to avoid social stigma, embarrassment or shame.
This case is therefore considered a landmark. It is a way for the intersex community to let the world know that forcing corrective surgeries on a child is wrong and that it will not be tolerated. Some expect other similar cases to follow suit.
Source: ABC 6 News, “Intersex surgeries spark move away from drastic treatment,” Lindsey Tanner, April 17, 2015