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As part of establishing a gender surgery center at a pediatric academic hospital, we undertook a process of identifying key ethical, legal, and contextual issues through collaboration among clinical providers, review by hospital leadership, discussions with key staff and hospital support services, consultation with the hospital's ethics committee, outreach to other institutions providing transgender health care, and meetings with hospital legal counsel. This process allowed the center to identify key issues, formulate approaches to resolving those issues, and develop policies and procedures addressing stakeholder concerns. Key issues identified during the process included the appropriateness of providing gender-affirming surgeries to adolescents and adults, given the hospital's mission and emphasis on pediatric services; the need for education on the clinical basis for offered procedures; methods for obtaining adequate informed consent and assent; the lower and upper acceptable age limits for various procedures; the role of psychological assessments in determining surgical eligibility; the need for coordinated, multidisciplinary patient care; and the importance of addressing historical access inequities affecting transgender patients. The process also facilitated the development of policies addressing the identified issues, articulation of a guiding mission statement, institution of ongoing educational opportunities for hospital staff, beginning outreach to the community, and guidance as to future avenues of research and policy development. Given the sensitive nature of the center's services and the significant clinical, ethical, and legal issues involved, we recommend such a process when a establishing a program for gender surgery in a pediatric institution.
PMID: 31085738 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]