FAIR OAKS (CBS13) – A transgender man is suing Mercy San Juan and Dignity Health after being denied a hysterectomy procedure.
The hospital canceled the surgery last minute after the patient, Evan Minton, mentioned to a nurse he is transgender. The lawsuit claims the hospital discriminated against him.
“I knew exactly why they wouldn’t perform this surgery on me,” said Minton.
Just days before his scheduled hysterectomy, Minton got a call from his doctor.
He said, “She told me I have to let you know your surgery has been canceled. She said they won’t let me perform on you because you’re transgender.”
Minton said he was shocked.
He says he chose Mercy San Juan because it was close to his home in Fair Oaks, and also a place his doctor performed hysterectomies all the time.
He said it was his worst nightmare.
“I’m going to have to live with this gender dysphoria for who knows how long, and that’s going to jeopardize my life,” he said.
Elizabeth Gill with the ACLU represents Minton and said the hospital’s actions violated state law, which says businesses must offer equal access to state residents.
“It was only when Evan outed himself to a hospital staff person as transgender, that they abruptly canceled his procedure,” she said.
Mercy San Juan is a Catholic Hospital with Dignity Health. Dignity Health released this statement in regards to the case:
“Dignity Health has a legacy of providing care to all people regardless of their background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Our services are available to everyone without discrimination and all are welcome at our care sites. Catholic hospitals do not perform sterilizing procedures such as hysterectomies for any patient regardless of their gender identity, unless there is a serious threat to the life or health of the patient. Courts have repeatedly recognized the right of faith-based hospitals not to provide services based on their religious principles. We are sensitive to the specific health needs of transgender patients and specialty care for trans individuals is offered at many of our care sites. In this case, Mr. Minton was able to quickly receive the sought-after procedure at another nearby Dignity Health hospital that is not Catholic-affiliated.”
Gill said, “All hysterectomies are medically necessary, that’s just a fact. They perform them regularly for CIS-gender women.”
The decision this week returns Minton’s case to San Francisco County Superior Court, which had previously dismissed it.
So why is the lawsuit allowed to move forward, now? An appeals court ruled California’s interest in fighting discrimination outweighs religious standards on healthcare.
“They’re only excluding transgender people from this treatment because the Catholic Church, as a whole, does not recognize the existence of transgender people,” Gill said.
Seventy-two hours after the surgery was canceled at Mercy San Juan, it was able to happen in South Sacramento at Methodist Hospital.
Minton, who works at the capitol, said he had colleagues make phone calls on his behalf.
The next court hearing in the lawsuit has not been set.