LEGAL CASE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM EXPERIMENTAL MEDICAL TREATMENT

by Susan Evans

LEGAL CASE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM EXPERIMENTAL MEDICAL TREATMENT

by Susan Evans
Susan Evans
Case Owner
LEGAL CASE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM HARMFUL EXPERIMENTAL MEDICAL TREATMENT
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Susan Evans
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LEGAL CASE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM HARMFUL EXPERIMENTAL MEDICAL TREATMENT
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Latest: Nov. 30, 2020

The judgement is coming tomorrow

At 10.30 hrs UK time tomorrow December 1st, the claimants Mrs A and Keira Bell, along with their legal team will hear the judgement on this case.

Whichever way it goes, we are all so, SO grateful to y…

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My Story: 

I am Susan Evans, I trained as a state registered nurse and psychiatric nurse and have worked in many areas of mental health since the 1980’s. I have also trained as a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and currently work in private practice. I was a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Tavistock and Portman NHSFT and Senior Fellow in Education, University of East London. 

During my employment at the Tavistock and Portman I spent a period of years working in the Gender Identity Development clinic for children.

While working there I quickly became concerned about the treatment approach. When I joined the team I had expected that the young people would be assessed in depth and given support and psychological treatment over several years. The alarm bells began ringing for me when a colleague at the weekly team clinical meeting said that they had seen a young person 4 times and they were now recommending them for a referral to the endocrinology department to commence hormone therapy. 

It became apparent that there was tremendous pressure on the GIDS staff coming from several directions - the distressed patients, sometimes the families, but most worryingly from the ‘support’ groups and charities, who seemed to be having undue influence on the treatment approach within the GIDS. Senior staff from GIDS have also been on the ‘teams’ at certain charities such as Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence. 

I tried to raise my concerns as I questioned the rapidity of the referrals of the young people to the Endocrine clinic.

I also clinically disagreed with the request to fall into line in immediately ‘affirming’ the children's beliefs and also the expectation to write to other professionals using the name and sex the child had chosen rather than the patient who had been referred. (This was in place of following the usual professional clinical stance of holding an open mind and trying to explore and understand with the child all the difficulties they were experiencing, whilst supporting them and their families in their distress and liaising with the referrer and other appropriate professionals). 

There was also the overhanging threat mentioned of being sued by a client if staff did comply. As time went on I felt alienated by certain staff within the clinical team, so I took my concerns ('whistle blew') to the Tavistock Clinical Management. There was an internal inquiry in 2004, but despite certain recommendations, nothing really changed and I eventually felt that for my own mental health, I could no longer work in GIDS, but I left worrying about the children and their families. I have now met several people who share our serious concerns about the experimental medicalisation of young people with gender dysphoria.

MRS A

I am the mother of a 15 year old daughter, who is going through a time of gender confusion. She has autism and other mental health issues and I am trying to help her through this distressing experience. With a lack of specialist expertise within our regional Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, I have agreed for her to join the GIDS waiting list, but with significant reservations.

I have deep concerns that the current clinical approach at GIDS means that my daughter will be subjected to an experimental treatment path that is not adequately regulated, where there are insufficient safeguards, where her autism will not be properly accounted for and where no-one (let alone my daughter) understands the risks and therefore cannot ensure informed consent is obtained.

I am remaining anonymous as I do not wish to expose my vulnerable daughter to the spotlight of media attention over what is a very sensitive issue, both within our family and in the wider community. There are many parents, like me, who are anxiously trying to support their children through an already turbulent adolescence, with the additional distress of issues surrounding identity development. We want the best for our children, but we need this to be from a position of evidence based, not experimental, medicine. Please support me in this case to prevent further harm being caused from this unproven, experimental treatment.

A momentous step in the dark

There have been numerous concerns expressed repeatedly in the media and from reputable professional bodies. Professor Heneghan from the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine concluded in a post in the British Medical Journal dated 25/2/19 : “An Archive of Diseases in Childhood letter referred to GnRHa treatment as a momentous step in the dark. It set out three main concerns: 1) young people are left in a state of ‘developmental limbo’ without secondary sexual characteristics that might consolidate gender identity; 2) use is likely to threaten the maturation of the adolescent mind, and 3) puberty blockers are being used in the context of profound scientific ignorance.”

The current evidence base does not support informed decision making and safe practice in children. “ Many professionals are now highly concerned about the treatments for under 18 gender dysphoric children and adolescents which remain largely experimental. There are so many unanswered questions that include the age at start, reversibility; serious adverse health events, long term effects on mental health, neurological effects on cognitive functioning, the effect on bone density, circulatory systems and sexual functioning in adulthood. We cannot stand by and watch young people be part of an experimental medical treatment that exposes them to very significant risks. We should be providing thoughtful, expert, longer term psychological help and therapy, which research has shown to be helpful for many of these children.

We need your help

We need your support to bring this test case that will ask the courts to establish that children cannot give their informed consent to radical experimental medical treatment. The harm they might suffer could have lifelong consequences. We have brought together an expert legal team and we have now written to the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and NHS England to ask them to stop this experimental and potentially harmful treatment. We ask you to give whatever you can to help us bring this test case.


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Update 9

Susan Evans

Nov. 30, 2020

The judgement is coming tomorrow

At 10.30 hrs UK time tomorrow December 1st, the claimants Mrs A and Keira Bell, along with their legal team will hear the judgement on this case.

Whichever way it goes, we are all so, SO grateful to you for all of your supportive messages and generous donations. I remember when Mrs A and  I first started the CrowdJustice page,  I was literally brought to tears by the messages  you sent to us both in the first few weeks of launching. I know that Keira has hugely appreciated your solid support since she became a claimant in the case, and throughout  the time she has been working  to publicise the necessity for improving the care of young people. 


Anyway  ....... until tomorrow...........


Thank you 




Update 8

Susan Evans

Oct. 27, 2020

2 days in court now waiting for verdict

Dear Backers,

As you are probably aware we had 2 days in court during which 3 judges presided over the judicial review on whether it is unlawful to ask children to give informed consent to puberty blockers.

After much confusion about whether it was a virtual or a live court process - we were allowed to attend in person - although due to social distancing most of us were in separate overspill rooms, where it was at times difficult to hear everything that was going on due to the sound system (it did improve marginally on day 2 but still very frustrating). 

QC Jeremy Hyams and his team (representing Keira and Mrs A) did a fantastic job in presenting the evidence  we had gathered and which was collated and provided by the lawyer Paul Conrathe (at least this was the opinion of most of us who were there). 

The 3 presiding judges hardly needed to question QC Hyams, just a few clarifications on references etc,  but they had a lot of questions for the QC's representing both the Tavistock and UCL and at the end of the 2 days in court, we were all left feeling that it had gone well, but the team were still very cautious to predict anything about the outcome possibilities.

What I can say is that personally, I believe that the legal team could not have been more thorough or more convincing in the evidence they provided and that is the best feeling to come away with. So you can be assured that your generous support has gone towards a top rate legal team performance which has given us all the best chance of some progress in all this. 

We are likely to receive a verdict within the next few weeks so I will keep you posted of any further developments and will let you know of the court verdict date as soon as I can. It would be great if some of you could make it there so say hello and we could thank you in person.


On behalf of Mrs A and Keira - with huge thanks once again.


Best-Sue

Update 7

Susan Evans

Oct. 6, 2020

Mrs A and Keira Bell -Tomorrow at the Courts of Justice

Dear Backers,

Thank you to our recent supporters and thank you thank you to those of you who have contributed again. That is very generous of you because we appreciate what a sacrifice it is for some at this difficult 'covid time'.

Tomorrow is the big day. We are in court on 7th/8th October.

There has been confusion around whether the proceedings would be in court or 'virtual'. After various permutations it looks like the case will be heard at the high court on Wednesday morning. The most recent communication from the courts said that the public will be admitted on a 'first come first served basis'.

Mrs A and Keira are the claimants who are aiming to protect Child A and the children of the future by questioning the legality of asking young people to give informed consent to this experimental medical treatment. 

Please if you have time today, share this Crowdjustice link with anybody you know who might be willing to support them. Some people don't think this matter really concerns them, but gradually we are seeing more young people, their parents, siblings, grandparents and extended families affected by the prospect of this medical treatment causing potential irreversible harm to their loved ones.It needs to be safer and evidence based for the future generations

Update 6

Susan Evans

Sept. 7, 2020

Court day is coming -Judicial Review 7/8th October


It is not long now until the trial (7/8 October). All of our evidence was finally submitted to the Court on Friday 28thAugust. We are delighted that some very eminent specialists from different parts of the world have provided witness statements. We have presented evidence for our serious concerns about the life-long medical and social consequences of young people going through transition, as well as highlighting the experimental nature of this treatment. It is simply inconceivable that a 15 year old (and even younger children and teenagers), would have the necessary maturity to fully understand what they were doing in consenting to medical transition. We have also raised serious concerns that the clinical guidelines that are currently followed, have been shaped by activism, rather than science and medical evidence.

There has been a significant amount of interest from groups that have wanted to become formally involved in the case. Transgendertrend has been allowed to participate, as has a 13 year old trans-child. Mermaids and Stonewall have been refused permission to get involved.

We want to thank you for your generosity in helping us get this far. We haven’t reached our funding target and still have a long way to go. This case is so important for the protection and welfare of children and families and we are asking that you consider encouraging friends and family to donate and to donate again if you possibly can.


with huge thanks from

Mrs A (mother to a 15 year old child) and Keira Bell


Update 5

Susan Evans

June 5, 2020

Judicial review date moved to 7/8 October

With things slowly returning to a  new normal, we can focus back on our aim of asking the judiciary to examine if it is unlawful for children to be asked to give informed consent to potentially harmful experimental drug treatments.  Currently if a child consents to this medical treatment pathway,  it will affect their adult future - a life they are not yet living and is usually envisaged, through their often distressed and dysphoric state of mind. 

The court date for the Judicial Review has been moved to the 7/8th October 2020. This is, understandably, to allow the Tavistock and NHS England additional time to prepare their defence, while managing the additional challenges of the Covid crisis.

I will aim to update more regularly now, as things start moving again. Thank you again for all your support and kind messages. They really help.


Update 4

Susan Evans

Jan. 24, 2020

Keira statement on the steps of Courts of Justice this week

 Keira Bell Statement


I have become a claimant in this case because I do not believe that children and young people can consent to the use of powerful and experimental hormone drugs like I did. I believe that the current affirmative system put in place by the Tavistock is inadequate as it does not allow for exploration of these gender dysphoric feelings nor does it seek to find the underlying causes of this condition. Hormone changing drugs and surgery does not work for everyone and it certainly should not be offered to someone under the age of 18 when they are emotionally and mentally vulnerable . The treatment urgently needs to change so that it does not put young people, like me, on a torturous and unnecessary path that is permanent and life changing."

I want to thank Sue Evans for having the courage to begin this case. Many members of the public here and around the world have given financially and sent messages of encouragement. With your help I plan to finish what Sue has begun.

I will be working together with Sue to raise awareness about the harmful medical treatment offered to children with gender dysphoria.

Update 3

Susan Evans

Jan. 24, 2020

Keira Bell - joins case as a claimant

Big news this week. Keira Bell has joined  Mrs A as claimants in the case. We all agreed this substitution,  and I will continue to be a witness. 

Keira is somebody who has been directly and permanently affected by the Gender Identity services, where she received medical treatments, which she now believes to be inappropriate and unnecessary. She hopes to prevent this happening to other children in the future. 

Going forward, I will continue to be involved and offer my support to both Mrs A and Keira. At the beginning of this journey it was important for Mrs A to have a co-claimant and I believe we have worked supportively and extremely hard  together with our legal team in bringing the case to the point it is at now. 

We now await  the Tavistock Gids  response to our evidence - I am advised that we might hope to hear something towards the end of February 

Update 2

Susan Evans

Jan. 9, 2020

The request for judicial review is now filed at the courts of justice

Thank you so much to everyone who is donating so generously to the case fund. As I write this our total is over £34,000.

 Our legal team have told us that  there will now be approximately 4 weeks and then the Judge will look at  the evidence submitted from both sides and make a decision about whether to grant a judicial review. 

Please keep sharing the link and letting people know about what is currently happening to many young people, who deserve better evidence based treatment and  support with their feelings of confusion, discomfort and distress about themselves.


Update 1

Susan Evans

Nov. 8, 2019

Next steps - looking at the evidence

Hello to anyone who is here for the first look, and welcome back to previous visitors.

Firstly, I need to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this case so far. (I am sorry I have not updated on it sooner, but my mum passed away on 18th October). It has been hugely encouraging to see all your messages of support – I have read every one of them and it made me feel sure we are doing a good thing in challenging the current medical practice at GIDS, Tavistock. It is essential that young people who are experiencing gender dysphoria are given much more thorough assessments, which would allow for in depth psychological exploration and understanding of each child’s particular treatment needs

So I can tell what has happened to date.
Our lawyer wrote a formal letter to NHS England and GIDS Tavistock, on 11/10/19 requesting that they should cease prescribing hormone blockers to children under the age of 18 years.

One point of clarification: We are not seeking compensation in this case. We are seeking a Judicial Review in an attempt to get a ruling from the court that the current practice at The Tavistock is unlawful.
So to be clear, we have nothing to gain financially from this case whatsoever. The fund which you are so brilliantly helping us with, is to cover legal costs. I will only have a clear conscience to gain I promise you! We are hoping to get my costs capped but at the moment we are trying to raise £50,000 minimum, so do please keep sharing the link and keep the donations coming in. Perhaps send it with a message of how the current ‘affirmative approach’ is affecting so many families throughout the world? Our huge ‘gain’ in the future will hopefully be to avoid the medicalisation of the next generation of young people with gender dysphoria.

Once the letter had gone to NHS England and GIDS Tavistock, we gave them until 1st November to respond. GIDS have replied and suggested a meeting to discuss the case, which we are currently considering. They have not agreed to stop referring people to the Endocrinology clinic for medication. Mum A, our solicitor and I are going to discuss our ‘next steps’ this week and I will let you know as soon as we have further developments on the judicial review, hopefully by the beginning of December.

I know that many of you have donated because this cause is very close to your hearts and minds, and every time I feel a bit overwhelmed with things, I remind myself of what I have learned from many of you who have shared your situations with me – patients, parents, professionals. We are doing our very best to try to make the future better for all children and their families when the distress of ‘gender dysphoria’ comes into their life.

Once again, on behalf of Mum A and me – Thank you very much.

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