LEGAL CASE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM EXPERIMENTAL MEDICAL TREATMENT
LEGAL CASE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM EXPERIMENTAL MEDICAL TREATMENT
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Latest: Dec. 5, 2020
In case you haven't heard.......
I apologize to people visiting the page since Tuesday 2nd and finding no news! This result has created a huge amount of interest both here in the UK and worldwide- it's been hectic. . In case you…Read more
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.
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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Dec. 5, 2020
In case you haven't heard.......
I apologize to people visiting the page since Tuesday 2nd and finding no news! This result has created a huge amount of interest both here in the UK and worldwide- it's been hectic. . In case you are somewhere with no internet or TV - Keira Bell and Mrs A and the legal team (with all the fantastic witness statements provided from world experts in their fields-thankyou), were successful in the judicial review. - All 3 judges agreed that children are unlikely to be able to give informed consent to this experimental treatment. It is a thoughtful, and at first reading, complex, judgement, but I'm sure the details will be emerging over the coming days. But to clarify - this does not mean that children can NEVER be given this medical treatment. It has NOT attacked or removed Gillick competency. What it means is that every clinician who believes it is in the child's best interest to have hormone treatments will have to bring their case before the courts. Even in the 16-18 age group, the judges suggested this might be appropriate due to the nature of the treatment.
The Tavistock have until the 22nd December to appeal which they have said they will do. Until then they are not able to accept any referrals and GIDS now have to review every child on their patient files who have commenced hormone treatments. If the senior assessing clinician believes the child should continue on hormones, then they too will have to apply to the court with their evidence of assessment and the child's capacity to give informed consent, to ensure that their consent was appropriate and valid in terms of meeting the criteria the judges laid out.
We are all relieved, because it will ensure that there is a review of the treatment processes of all the current patients on hormones. The concerned parents who have contacted me and other clinicians with their worries, that their children were not adequately psychologically assessed and treated, will now have a second opportunity to have this experimental treatment reviewed in their child's case. Then independent eyes in court can decide what is best, given the evidence.
Lastly, several of the medical/professional groups connected in this area that I am aware of, have expressed their concerns, but also ideas and suggestions to assist NHSEngland in their duty to ensure that adequate psychological support and treatment is available to the many distressed and anxious children and their families who have been sitting on the GIDS waiting list for years, and many others who will have been affected further by this judgement. They will be wondering what path their children should now be on. NHS England so far have given their directives to the Tavistock and we await further news about the development of alternative treatment models and services.
Thank you so much to all of you who have helped Keira Bell and Mrs A in their successful judicial review. We genuinely couldn't have done it without you.
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...........
Oct. 27, 2020
2 days in court now waiting for verdict
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.
Oct. 6, 2020
Mrs A and Keira Bell -Tomorrow at the Courts of Justice
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Nov. 8, 2019
Next steps - looking at the evidence
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