Nonbinary patient sues Utah MD who removed both ovaries

The story was published this morning in the Salt Lake Tribune. Leslie Shaw has filed a malpractice suit against  OB-GYN Rixt Luikenaar for removing both ovaries (instead of  only one as had been agreed, Shaw alleges), rendering Shaw irreversibly infertile.

Dr. Luikenaar has been mentioned in a former 4thWaveNow post, “Shriveled Raisins: The bitter harvest of affirmative care,” which covered the impact of transgender hormones and surgeries on future fertility.

Luikenaar’s surgical plan was to include a hysterectomy, the removal of both fallopian tubes and the excision of one ovary, court papers say. Shaw wanted the second ovary retained so natural hormones would still be produced and so Shaw might have a biological child one day.

salt lake trib story

“I absolutely thought we were all on the same page,” Shaw said in an interview. “I said to [Luikenaar], ‘I’m only at peace having this surgery as long as one ovary is retained.’ ”

Luikenaar’s response: “We’ll leave the pretty one,” court papers say.

Instead, Shaw awoke after surgery to learn Luikenaar had removed both, the lawsuit states. Post-operative notes say both ovaries were removed because Shaw was suffering from endometriosis, but subsequent testing of the tissues found no sign of the disease, the lawsuit contends.

Surgeries and hormones for nonbinary, genderqueer, and gender fluid individuals have become more frequent in the last few years, with top US gender doctors publicly supporting such interventions. (An upcoming post on 4thWaveNow will document one such MD praising hormones and surgeries even for “gender fluid” people under the age of 18 who may change their identities in the future).

Shaw was born female and no longer identifies as a woman, but as a “transgender, nonbinary or agender individual.” Shaw came out as trans in 2013 and prefers to use the pronouns “they” or “them” instead of she…

…The surgery has left Shaw in a permanent state of menopause, according to the lawsuit…

…Court papers also say that Luikenaar has used Facebook to try to pressure a mental health care provider to give her Shaw’s records. The records were not released, court papers say.

“I genuinely worry,” Shaw said, “that other folks are not receiving good care but are afraid to come forward.”

In April of last year, Luikenaar took to her professional Facebook page to announce she would no longer be seeing trans patients due to the lawsuit.  She shared her post on the public WPATH Facebook page.
FACOG announcementLuikenaar’s announcement did not sit well, however, with many WPATH members, who objected to the idea that the doctor could choose not to see trans patients. Luikenaar subsequently deleted her post, but her situation–and the ethics of an MD terminating care for trans patients–continued in a new posting,  with many comments, that is still available on the WPATH Facebook page.

Luikenaar discussion