The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that a Sacramento-area transgender man can sue Mercy San Juan Medical Center over the last-minute cancellation of his hysterectomy, overturning a lower-court ruling that dismissed the case.
Dignity Health, which operates Mercy San Juan, arranged for Evan Minton to have the procedure at Methodist Hospital in south Sacramento within 72 hours of the denial, court records state. The procedure was canceled, the lawsuit stated, after Minton mentioned to a nurse that he is transgender.
In his appeal court decision, Presiding Justice Stuart R. Pollak stated: “Without determining the right of Dignity Health to provide its services in such cases at alternative facilities, as it claims to have done here, we agree that plaintiff’s complaint alleges that Dignity Health initially failed to do so and that its subsequent rectification of its denial, while likely mitigating plaintiff’s damages, did not extinguish his cause of action for discrimination.”
Earlier, a San Francisco Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the Carmichael-based hospital followed the direction of California Supreme Court justices in quickly rescheduling the procedure at a different facility. The superior court found this action fell in line with the high court’s decision in North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group Inc. v. San Diego County Superior Court.
Minton’s surgeon, Dr. Lindsey Dawson, scheduled the procedure on a day when she planned another hysterectomy at Mercy San Juan, court records stated, but two days before the surgery, Minton mentioned to a pre-operation nurse that he is transgender. In an interview with The Bee in April 2017, Dawson said Dignity Health officials assisted her in getting emergency privileges at Methodist so she could perform the procedure there.
Elizabeth Gill, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Northern California, told The Bee the procedure was not any more elective for Minton than it is for cisgender women who have hysterectomies at Mercy San Juan for conditions that are not life-threatening.
Full story at The Sacramento Bee.