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Explosive Matt Walsh report on pediatric transgender 'care' from Vanderbilt University Medical Center leads to demands for investigation

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Nadzeya Haroshka via Getty Images

Tennessee Republicans are speaking out against the Pediatric Transgender Clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Gov. Bill Lee (R) has called for an investigation of the clinic after an explosive report by the Daily Wire's Matt Walsh revealed appalling details of so-called gender-affirming "care" provided to children.

On Tuesday, Walsh posted video and archived webpages from Vanderbilt in which doctors discuss how transgender hormone regimens for minors and sex-change surgeries are a "big money maker" for the clinic. Additional video shows that staff members were warned that any "conscientious objection" to the transgender "care" would be frowned upon.

“The ‘pediatric transgender clinic’ at Vanderbilt University Medical Center raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns,” Governor Lee told the Daily Wire in a statement. “We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain. We have to protect Tennessee children, and this warrants a thorough investigation.”

Walsh summarized his investigative findings in a Twitter thread posted Tuesday.

"My team and I have been investigating the transgender clinic at Vanderbilt here in Nashville. Vanderbilt drugs, chemically castrates, and performs double mastectomies on minors," Walsh wrote.

He shared video of a 2018 Medicine Grand Rounds lecture given by Dr. Shayne Sebold Taylor, a physician at the VUMC Clinic for Transgender Health. In the lecture, Taylor discusses how sex-change surgeries "make a lot of money."

A female-to-male chest masculinization surgery, also called "top surgery," can bring in as much as $40,000, Taylor states. She also notes that a patient receiving "routine hormone treatment" will visit the clinic just a few times each year but "can bring in several thousands dollars ... and actually makes money for the hospital."

Taylor goes on to describe how vaginoplasty surgeries, in which a man is castrated and doctors surgically create a fake vagina using tissue from his penis, can make as much as $20,000 in revenue, citing data from the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery. She excitedly states that figure is likely an "underestimate" given costs for hospital stay, post-op visits, anesthesia, and other associated medical bills.

She adds that female-to-male "bottom surgeries," in which doctors take skin and other tissues from a woman's forearm or thigh to create a fake penis, can make as much as $100,000 in hospital revenue.

"These surgeries are labor-intensive, there are a lot of follow-ups, they require a lot of our time, and they make money,” Taylor told the audience. “They make money for the hospital.”

In a separate Medicine Grand Rounds lecture, Vanderbilt health law expert Ellen Wright Clayton warns hospital staff that asserting a "conscientious objection" to performing transgender "care" has "consequences" for the patients.

“If you are going to assert conscientious objection, you have to realize that that is problematic,” Clayton said. “You are doing something to another person, and you are not paying the cost for your belief. I think that is a … real issue.”

She said that conscientious objectors would be accommodated to the extent they can find someone else to perform a sex-change surgery.

“I just want you to take home that saying that you’re not going to do something because of your conscientious — because of your religious beliefs, is not without consequences, and should not be without consequences,” she said. “And I just want to put that out there.”

She tells staffers that if they don't want to perform this kind of work, they shouldn't work for Vanderbilt.

Walsh also revealed details about the medical center's "Trans Buddy" program, in which Vanderbilt provides trained "peer advocates" for gender-dysphoric patients who visit for doctor's appointments or other health care services.

"The 'buddies' are trans activists from the community who attend appointments with trans patients, monitoring the doctors to guard against 'unsafe' behavior such as misgendering," Walsh reported.

"Vanderbilt makes their Trans Buddies available to children, too. They make lots of 'services' available to children, including chemical castration. Though at some point in the last month they removed explicit admission of this fact from their site," he tweeted, sharing an archived screenshot from the Vanderbilt Pediatric Transgender Clinic website.

Video from the Vanderbilt Psychiatry YouTube channel unearthed by Walsh shows Vanderbilt professionals recommending that "gender-affirming hormones" be given to children as young as 13 to prevent them from going through puberty.

Another video shows plastic surgeon Julian Winocour and physician’s assistant Shalyn Vanderbloemen explaining that the clinic will perform "top surgeries" on girls as young as 16 if they provide parental consent and have been taking testosterone.

"So, let’s review. Vanderbilt got into the gender transition game admittedly in large part because it is very financially profitable. They then threatened any staff members who objected, and enlisted a gang of trans activists to act as surveillance in order to force compliance," Walsh wrote.

"They now castrate, sterilize, and mutilate minors as well as adults, while apparently taking steps to hide this activity from the public view. This is what 'health care' has become in modern America," he concluded.

Multiple state and federal Republican lawmakers expressed shock and outrage at Vanderbilt following Walsh's report.

"This evil can not stand in TN," said state Rep. Jason Zachary. "The Legislature must address such abuse of children and act to protect those who face consequences for their religious objections. This will be a priority for me in 2023."

"We are shocked by what we have seen in these videos," Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted. "We would hope that VUMC would make better decisions. There is nothing healthy about mutilating the bodies of minor children. We need an investigation into VUMC putting profits ahead of children immediately."

Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann called the report "incredibly disheartening and completely unacceptable."

"Tennessee children deserve better than what's happening at VUMC, and I stand alongside Governor @BillLeeTN in demanding a thorough investigation," Fleischmann said.

Shortly after Walsh published his Twitter thread, the website for Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Pediatric Transgender Clinic was taken down.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center issued the following statement:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is now the subject of social media posts and a video that misrepresent facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients.

VUMC began its Transgender Health Clinic because transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health issues and have been consistently underserved by the U.S. health system.

We have been and will continue to be committed to providing family-centered care to all adolescents in compliance with state law and in line with professional practice standards and guidance established by medical specialty societies.

VUMC requires parental consent to treat a minor patient who is to be seen for issues related to transgender care, and never refuses parental involvement in the care of transgender youth who are under age 18.

Our policies allow employees to decline to participate in care they find morally objectionable, and do not permit discrimination against employees who choose to do so. This includes employees whose personal or religious beliefs do not support gender-affirming care for transgender persons.

The Trans Buddy program mentioned in the video has received national acclaim. Its purpose is to provide peer volunteers who support persons who are seeking highly personal care in an unfamiliar environment, and who may have been refused medical services in the past or avoided seeking them out of fear of being met with hostility.

Walsh responded on Twitter: "They do not specifically deny anything in my report. Their only defense for drugging and mutilating kids is that their parents allegedly consent to it," he said. "That’s all the confirmation you need."

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