A trans teen took his own life after hospital staff continually referred to him as a girl while on suicide watch.
Kyler Prescott was only 14 when he killed himself due to anxiety and depression in March last year.
Prior to his death, he was referred to the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, which has a gender management clinic for children with gender dysphoria, to be placed on suicide watch.
However, despite the specialist unit, Kyler’s mother Katherine Prescott said staff continued to refer to him as a girl and often used female pronouns.
Speaking to the Washington Post, she said it caused him to go “into a spiral”.
“He was frantic,” she said.
“They were making him worse. They were completely traumatising him.”
This week, Mrs Prescott filed a lawsuit against the Southern Californian hospital in a US District Court.
She said that while she doesn’t blame the hospital for Kyler’s death she had to “make sure that [it] doesn’t happen to any other kids”.
“When my son was in despair, I entrusted Rady Children’s Hospital with his safety and well-being,” she said.
“Hospitals are supposed to be safe places that help people when they’re in need.
“Instead of recovering at the hospital, Kyler got worse because staff continued to traumatise him by repeatedly treating him as a girl and ignoring his serious health issues.
“It’s painful to speak out, but I want to make sure no other parent or child ever has to go through this again.”
Responding to the lawsuit, Rady’s Children Hospital said it was their “top priority” to provide the absolute highest level of care to patients.
“While it is the policy of Rady Children’s not to comment on pending legal matters, any allegations of wrongdoing, including discrimination, are investigated thoroughly and followed up on,” it said in a statement.
If you are suffering from anxiety or depression contact The Samaritans on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit a local branch.