A former case manager at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital recently made a stunning admission: “The doctors I worked alongside at the Transgender Center said frequently about the treatment of our patients: ‘We are building the plane while we are flying it.’” 

Last week, the former case manager, Jamie Reed, made headlines across the country with her piece titled, “I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I’m Blowing the Whistle,” published in The Free Press. Reed details firsthand the horrific practices she witnessed during her four years on staff at the Washington University Transgender Center. 

Reed, a self-proclaimed supporter of “trans rights” and herself a “queer woman, and politically to the left of Bernie Sanders,” argues that the Center is “permanently harming the vulnerable patients in [its] care.” 

According to her account, children have suffered appalling injuries from the puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones prescribed by the Center. One 17-year-old female patient who was on testosterone bled through a pad, her jeans, and a towel in less than an hour. She had had sexual intercourse, and her vaginal canal ripped open because the testosterone she was prescribed had thinned her vaginal tissues.     

Reed also claims that the Center has lied to parents and the public about its treatment of minors and the side effects of treatment, including sterilization.

Two groups of patients especially worry her: the many teenage girls with underlying comorbidities and young people from the inpatient psychiatric unit, or the emergency department, of St. Louis Children’s Hospital. According to Reed, the Center “does not provide mental health care or refer children for mental health care even though nearly all children who come to the Center are experiencing serious mental health issues.” 

These patients, she says, only need one or two visits to an “affirming therapist” and one visit to the endocrinologist to get a cross-sex hormone prescription. And the Center encouraged children to go to therapists that they knew would immediately support medical transition and refer the children back to the Center using a template letter created by Center staff. 

When Reed expressed concern about issues, including a disregard of parental rights, the growing number of detransitioners, the social contagion of gender transitioning, and the unaddressed mental health of kids, she was told, “Get on board, or get out.” The Center’s doctors, she says, instructed her to stop questioning their authority and the “medicine and the science.”

In November of 2022, Reed exited the unfinished plane of “gender-affirming” treatment, declaring, “I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to ‘do no harm.’” 

Washington University responded to Reed’s allegations in a statement, saying they are “alarmed” and “have already begun the process of looking into the situation to ascertain the facts.” 

Before publishing her account in The Free Press, Reed sent a complaint letter and affidavit, which are now public, to Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey regarding the medical practices and treatment of minors at the Center. 

In response, the Attorney General’s Office launched a full investigation into Reed’s allegations. U.S. Senator Josh Hawley has also sent a letter to Washington University and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, announcing his office’s investigation into the Center. 

Reed’s affidavit is even more disturbing than her account in The Free Press. It states that the Center disregards the standards of the activist organization, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), which are already lenient. Prior to revising the guidelines in 2022, WPATH recommended that children be at least 16 years old to take cross-sex hormones, yet she says the Center “routinely prescribed” them to thirteen-year-olds. 

She adds that the Center also goes against the standards of the adult gender clinic at Washington University and other youth gender clinics by prescribing children Bicalutamide, a drug meant for treating pancreatic cancer that has the side effect of causing breasts to grow. This drug can poison the liver and has no clinical studies to support using it for gender transitions, she says. One young male patient she references experienced liver toxicity from taking Bicalutamide and was sent to another unit of the hospital and immediately taken off the drug. The patient’s mother sent a message saying the Center is “lucky her family was not the type to sue.”

According to the affidavit, if parents seemed hesitant for their child to medically transition, doctors would tell them, “You can either have a living son or a dead daughter,” right in front of the child. The Center sometimes even went directly against parental consent. One patient’s father, she says, did not want his child to go on cross-sex hormones. So, the child returned later with an adult male (step-parent) who said the child could take hormones. The Center failed to check whether the adult male was a legal parent or guardian. 

This is not the first time the Center has been in the news for concealing information from parents. Employees of the Center told officials at the Parkway School District in St. Louis County to allow staff to hide students’ chest-binding practices from parents. A 2018 chest binding study found that “97.2% of individuals who bound their chests experienced at least one negative physical symptom from binding,” including back pain (53.8%), overheating (53.5%), chest pain (48.8%), shortness of breath (46.6%), scarring (7.7%), and rib fractures (2.8%).

Unfortunately, the egregious practices of the Washington University Transgender Center are not unique. Just under five months ago, Tenn. Governor Bill Lee called for an investigation into the Pediatric Transgender Clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

Independent Women’s Forum has also reported similar stories of children and parents harmed by gender transitioning through its documentary series, “Identity Crisis.” Accounts shared by detransitioners, such as Prisha Mosley and Chloe Cole, reflect Reed’s experience. 

Thankfully, some are pushing back against what some are calling medical malpractice. Last month, Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox signed a bill that bans surgery or hormone treatment for minors wishing to change their gender. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem recently signed a similar bill. More governors need to follow suit.

Because of the lack of standards and the private nature of youth gender transitions, Reed, a self-proclaimed liberal, is now urging for “a moratorium on the hormonal and surgical treatment of young people with gender dysphoria” and an investigation into the treatment of patients and long-term consequences, following in step with countries like England, Sweden, and Finland.  

Let’s hope her plea is enough to save children who are being fast-tracked down this life-altering, potentially catastrophic path.