Australian doctors in private practice may come under pressure to cease involvement in medicalised gender change of minors following a landmark insurance decision that stresses the significant risk of litigation.
“In response to the high risk of claims arising from irreversible treatments provided to those who medically and surgically transition as children and adolescents, [medical indemnity insurer] MDA National is restricting cover for practitioners in private practice,” the insurer says in an email to members with this exposure.
The MDA National email to doctors seeing gender dysphoric youth says: “[From July 1, we] will not cover you or make a payment when the claim against you arises in any way out of your assessment that a patient under the age of 18 years is suitable for gender transition.”
The insurer, which has 54,000 health professional members, also says it will no longer cover doctors if they face a claim after “initiating prescribing of gender affirming hormones for any patient under the age of 18 years.
There are anecdotal reports of family doctors using the fast-track, American-style “informed consent” model to prescribe cross-sex hormones for patients under 18, potentially at odds with the law as declared by Australia’s Family Court.