Woman Claims She Could Have Died After Hospital Canceled Her Surgery for Complaining About Transgender Nurse
She asked that only biological women be involved in her intimate care.
A British woman whose surgery was canceled after she asked not to be treated by a transgender nurse says she could have died from the delay, The Telegraph reported this week. Teresa Steele, a former lawyer, was being treated at the Princess Grace, a private hospital in London that specializes in women's health.
After a transgender nurse entered her exam room, Steele asked that only biological women be involved in her intimate care. The hospital sent her an email saying her surgery had been canceled.
The hospital originally accused Steele of discriminating against the nurse but has since apologized, The Telegraph reported. Steele said that after her surgery was canceled, she developed an abscess from the stress of the incident. The abscess meant her surgery couldn't be rescheduled quickly, and she was in pain "for months," she said.
On Oct. 10, 2022, Steele was scheduled to have a complicated abdominal operation. In her admission forms, she said she required single-sex bathrooms and would not discuss pronouns.
On Oct. 6, as Steele was getting a pre-op exam, a transgender nurse not involved in her care entered her private room. Steele believes that she was "targeted" because she had expressed gender-critical views, The Telegraph reported.
Later that day, Steele sent the hospital a complaint demanding same-sex care and an assurance that after her operation, a male or a trans woman would only enter her room with her permission.
The next night, Maxine Estop Green, the hospital's CEO, emailed Steele, saying, "We do not share your beliefs and are not able to adhere to your requests," and notifying her that the operation was being canceled.
"I was very traumatized and on the point of collapse following the cancellation," said Steele. "There was a sudden and observable deterioration in my health. An abscess that had not been visible on scans only a short time earlier had suddenly appeared. They endangered my life by canceling that operation. I could have died of sepsis."
Steele's operation was rescheduled for Oct 31 at another hospital. But surgeons realized the abscess was severe, and they were unable to complete the surgery. The operation wasn't completed until this past February.
Steele says she was discriminated against and harmed because of the hospital's decision to cancel her operation, but she says she'll drop any further legal action if the hospital establishes protections for other patients.
Steele is calling on the HCA, one of the UK's largest private healthcare companies which owns the Princess Grace, to change their policies to ensure that patients are given protections based on their sex-based rights. That includes a guarantee that patients can request care from medical personnel of the same biological sex.
The Princess Grace Hospital said in a statement: "The privacy and dignity of our patients is incredibly important, and we are in the final stages of reviewing our policy on this. We have invited Ms. Steele, alongside others, to provide their views and insights to help inform these updates."
"We remain committed to always accommodating patient requests where we safely can do so. In rare circumstances, we may need to cancel or postpone a procedure to give us more time to ensure we can meet these requests. We would always do this prioritizing patient safety and the urgency of their care and look to reschedule this as soon as we have been able to fully discuss their individual needs."