A landmark court case, believed to be the first of its kind, regarding operating on intersex children’s genitals has been settled for $440,000.
The case, which spent four years winding its way through the system, was by Pam and Mark Crawford on behalf of their adopted son, M.C., against the Medical University of South Carolina.
M.C., now 12, was in their care when, at sixteen months, doctors decided to operate on his ambiguous genitalia to make him appear female. His parents say surgeons did not tell them about potential complications or that other options were available.
He grew up to identify as a boy, and the case, which also named the South Carolina Department of Social Services and the Greenville Hospital System, who referred him to surgeons at MUSC, cited medical bills, pain and suffering, psychological damage, and impairment as resulting from the surgery.
Greenville already settled for $20,000 last year.
MUSC “denied all claims of negligence and any liability for the alleged claims but agreed to this compromise of a vigorously disputed claim to avoid the costs of litigation,” according to the settlement, BuzzFeed reports.
“More and more, surgeons are going to realize that they’re at risk of these suits. Nobody can say this was uncontroversial standard practice. It is controversial,” said Bo Laurent, who founded the Intersex Society of North America, and who testified in M.C.’s case.
He added that he believes “there’s no justification for continuing to impose [these surgeries] when people can’t choose.”
Human Rights Watch, in collaboration with interACT, recently released a report arguing against such surgeries.