A trans man is planning to file a lawsuit against a New York hospital after he was “degraded”, misgendered and asked if he was pregnant.
In July, 2021, Trey Lowery was admitted to Highland Hospital in Rochester, New York, for scheduled bariatric surgery.
He told Rochester City News that he had undergone all of his pre-surgery tests and screenings before he was admitted, but as he prepared to be taken to theatre, he was handed a cup and told he had to take a pregnancy test.
Lowery said: “I was like, ‘Woah, woah, woah, why do you have to do a pregnancy test if I’m a male?'”
He also said that he was consistently misgendered throughout his stay at the hospital, despite his medical records clearly stating that he is a trans man, and his birth certificate and driver’s license having male gender markers.
His wife, Quenisha, corroborated this, telling the publication: “They never once referred to him as a male, never, not once.
“Even when I corrected them, they still referred to him as the same thing.”
Lowery said: “They took my pride away. I felt like I didn’t want to be here anymore, I wanted to kill myself, because I worked so hard to be here like this, and I’m not getting appreciated for who I am.”
A day after he was discharged from the hospital, he added, he received a bizarre phone call from Highland hospital’s chief executive officer, Dr Steven Goldstein, who apologised and asked if he wanted a job as a “spokesperson” for transgender patients at the hospital.
Lowery said he declined, but the hospital claims that the phone call never happened. In fact, it has defended every aspect of its treatment of Lowery, who now says he plans to file a lawsuit.
In a statement, Highland hospital insisted that the trans man’s care was “medically appropriate and compassionate”, and that the request for him to take a pregnancy test was acceptable because “patients provide overall consent for treatment and care via signature when they arrive at the hospital”.
“Clinical staff do not necessarily seek permission for each individual test that is run,” it added.
Highland Hospital in Rochester, New York, has already been sued by another trans man
In 2014, Cori Smith, another trans man, sued Highland Hospital in Rochester, New York, and filed a police report against an emergency room doctor, accusing him of sexual assault and a hate crime.
Smith was admitted to hospital with complications related to ovarian cysts, but his treatment was “outwardly transphobic”, he claimed.
In his lawsuit, he said it was discovered through an ultrasound that his ovaries had swelled to the size of “grapefruit” and had multiple cysts.
He asked for them to be removed, as it was a procedure he was planning on having as part of his transition anyway and he was suffering from endometriosis.
A “transphobic” doctor refused, and Smith alleged that later he was even made to undergo another vaginal ultrasound in front of a group of medical students.
He said: “There was no medical reason for them to do it because I had already received an ultrasound downstairs. I was kicking and screaming.”
The doctor was never convicted of any crime, and when Smith tried to sue the hospital, his case was dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed.
Smith filed two appeals, but both were dismissed.
In 2018, four years after his ordeal, Smith finally received an apology from University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), which runs Highland Hospital.
URMC said that Smith had “taught us so much”, and added: “In doing so, he has been a catalyst for UR Medicine, helping to accelerate and expand the work underway to improve healthcare delivery for our transgender community.”