Georgetown University School of Medicine is teaching its students to administer puberty blockers and hormone therapy to minors, a survey by The viewer revealed.
During a preclinical course in 2021, medical students learned that the “only way to help” many transgender people is to “fix” their bodies” through medical intervention. The course also falsely claimed that puberty blockers are “fully reversible”.
Georgetown University did not return a request for comment.
First-year medical students at Georgetown must take a course on human sexuality, which is part of a fundamental block on the reproductive system. In an iteration of this course last year, students were greeted with a guest lecture on “transgender health care” by Dr. David S. Reitman. Reitman is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, practices pediatric medicine at Georgetown University Hospital, and directs the American University Student Health Center.
Dr. Reitman’s lecture presentation slides warned students that their patients with gender dysphoria would likely attempt suicide if they were not treated with puberty blockers, “gender-affirming hormone therapy” and surgical sex changes.
The slides spend a lot of time explaining how to identify and treat transgender children. Reitman says children can show signs of gender differences “from infancy” and suggests young children could be transgender if they express preferences for clothes, toys, or hairstyles commonly associated with the opposite sex.
Reitman suggests treating children with gender dysphoria using puberty-blocking drugs, which will prevent them from developing “undesirable secondary gender/sex characteristics” – for example, breast development in women or breast growth. penis and testicles in men. An added benefit of these drugs, Reitman notes, is that transgender people may no longer have to undergo surgical sex changes later in their transition.
The lecture slides list several side effects of puberty-blocking drugs – including adverse effects on bone density and the aforementioned lack of development of secondary sex characteristics – and admit that there are few long-term studies on the potential impacts on a patient’s health. Nevertheless, Reitman still claims that puberty blockers are “fully” and “completely reversible.”
The New York Times reported in May 2021 that “more research is needed to fully understand the impact [puberty blockers] may affect the fertility of some patients. Little is also known about the long-lasting effects of drugs on brain development and bone mineral density. According to Dr. Jessica Kremen, pediatric endocrinologist for Boston Children’s Hospital’s Multi-Specialty Gender Service, patients who switch from puberty blockers to hormone therapy – “a typical course for some transgender adolescents” – are more likely to struggle with puberty blockers. ‘infertility. Off-label use of Lupron, a common puberty-blocking drug for girls experiencing precocious puberty, can cause brittle bones, faulty joints, depression, and other long-term negative effects. As of 2020, the UK National Health Service no longer describes puberty blockers as ‘fully reversible’.
The slides also point out the serious side effects of what Reitman calls “gender-affirming” hormone therapy – including liver dysfunction and pancreatitis caused by feminizing hormones and pelvic pain caused by masculinizing hormones – but still describes the treatment. as “medically necessary”. A gender-affirming hormone therapy case study provided to students features a seventeen-year-old minor.
Reitman’s lecture slides end with graphic images of what’s commonly known as “bottom surgery” — surgery to reconstruct the genitals — for adult patients. Reitman says patients undergoing hormone therapy and sex reassignments may need to freeze their eggs or sperm in case they become infertile or remove reproductive structures needed to conceive and/or bear a child.
Georgetown’s status as a Catholic medical school makes Reitman’s lecture even more morally problematic.
Catholic hospitals are required to follow the ethical and religious guidelines for Catholic health care services offered by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. They are therefore not authorized to perform treatments or educate medical students on procedures that violate these guidelines (i.e. abortion).
The viewer spoke to several Catholic ethicists who indicated that “gender-affirming hormone therapy” – especially for minors – and surgical sex changes would not be allowed by USCCB standards.
“Teaching future doctors how to help people engage in gender transition, I would argue, is unethical and not something a Catholic medical school should be doing,” John F said. Brehany, executive vice president and director of institutional relations at the National Catholic Center for Bioethics.
He added: “While you cannot point to specific Catholic teaching that condemns the practice, if you apply traditional moral principles of respect for the human body, both to protect and care for the body and not to destroying, damaging or sacrificing any part of one’s body except for a very good well-founded reason, then it would certainly be the position of the National Catholic Bioethics Center that this is unethical.
Mary Rice Hasson, Kate O’Beirne’s senior fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, agreed.
“People take GAH to validate their chosen identity, expressly or implicitly rejecting the sexual identity (male or female) that God gave the person,” Hasson said. In addition, GAH turns a person’s healthy body into a medical disaster zone. Taking hormones for the purpose of “gender transitioning” does more than change a person’s appearance, it alters the body’s natural functions, leading to significant long-term health problems, including impaired fertility . »
Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, says people struggling with gender dysphoria “should be treated with respect, justice and charity”; however, “to assert that someone has an identity at odds with biological sex or to assert a person’s desired ‘transition’ is to mislead that person”.
In addition to the “Transgender Health Care” lecture given to freshmen at Georgetown University School of Medicine, fourth-year students can take an elective course on “Sexual and Gender Minority Health” which gives them experience practice of administering hormone therapy. .
The course listing says students will complete a clinical rotation at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, D.C., where they will be “exposed to a wide range of topics relevant to providing high-quality care to LGBT people, including, but not limit it…gender-affirming hormone therapy.
Hasson explained that it is “not a moral issue for Georgetown to sponsor a clinical rotation at a clinic that provides medical care primarily to people who identify as LGBTQ” because “every person has dignity and deserves to to receive medical care and to be treated with kindness and love,” but this only applies to medical treatment that is otherwise “morally sound.”
While future doctors may need to be educated about certain medical practices they might encounter during their career, Georgetown’s course material crosses the line of endorsement and activism.
Brehany explained: “[Future doctors] may very well come across patients who are taking these drugs and need to know how they work and impact patient health. It is legitimate. But teaching them “this is how you help with gender transition” is unethical.
Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization dedicated to advocating for faithful Catholic education, called Georgetown’s teaching materials on transgender people a “horrible violation of medical ethics.”
“The very reason Catholics sponsor medical schools is to bring the light of our Catholic faith to health and healing work, not to destroy what is beautiful and perfectly healthy,” Reilly explained. “But teaching students to mutilate the body of a child or an adult is a horrific violation of medical ethics and the mission of Catholic education.”
Reilly said this is not the first time that Georgetown, despite its status as the nation’s first and oldest Catholic medical school, has ignored Catholic ethical standards.
“In many ways and for several decades, Georgetown University has repeatedly violated the mission of Catholic education, which trains students in both faith and reason. He flouts Catholic teaching without any consequences, and he causes enormous damage by his blatant hypocrisy,” Reilly said. “Catholic families should reject Georgetown on principle and for the sake of those who may be harmed by studying there.”
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