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I notice that, on social media, there are numbers of videos by detransitioners, or those unable to reverse their procedures, expressing their regret for a childhood decision that was facilitated by medical and other professionals but now regretted.

They may now be adults or indeed still minors but what they have in common is that they transitioned as minors.

If they wanted to band together and bring a class action, who might they sue and on what grounds?

I am mainly interested in US and UK law but other countries are of interest.


Doctors Have Failed Them, Say Those Who Regret Transitioning Written by Alicia Ault March 22, 2022 https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/20220322/doctors-have-failed-them-say-those-who-regret-transitioning

'I feel angry': Why some people regret and reverse their transgender decisions 'I’m angry that every single doctor and therapist we saw told us this was the one and only option' Author of the article:Tom Blackwell Published Dec 14, 2020 https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/i-feel-angry-why-some-people-regret-and-reverse-their-transgender-decisions

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    Just a heads up- it's widely accepted that these stories are fake or at least heavily exaggerated. Mar 19, 2023 at 10:25
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    Accepted by whom? On what evidence?
    – Mary
    Mar 20, 2023 at 1:11
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    See, e.g., Maria Anna Theodora Catharina van der Loos, MD, et al., "Continuation of gender-affirming hormones in transgender people starting puberty suppression in adolescence: a cohort study in the Netherlands" The Lancet (October 20, 2022). DOI:doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(22)00254-1 ("Among 720 people who started puberty suppressing hormones prior to the age of 18, 704 (98%) continued to use gender-affirming hormones after turning 18. . . . A total of 12 of these 16 individuals (75%) underwent gonadectomy."). Only 4 out of 704 ceased transitioning.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 20, 2023 at 6:47
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    Not transitioning until adulthood has serious negative side effects and is widely regretted.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 20, 2023 at 6:52
  • I'd ask people to keep political and personal beliefs out of this please - I know that the subject is controversial. However my question is purely legal. Mar 20, 2023 at 9:43

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Informed consent is required for a surgical procedure. "Informed" includes having knowledge of the risks. The relevant legal question would be whether the doctor in question did adequately apprise the patient of the risks.

On an individual basis, patient A could sue doctor X for the resulting harm. It is possible that 5 patients might sue the same doctor on this basis, which gets expensive and inefficient. If there is a well-defined and large-enough class, it may be possible for the action to be certified as a class action. 20 people might be a large-enough class.

The defendant would be "whoever is responsible for the wrong". That might be a single practitioner, or a hospital that the practitioner(s) work for. The hospital is an obvious plaintiff, if they failed in their duty to assure that their employees adequately informed patients of the risk.

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  • Would the NHS or an equivalent body be a potential defendant for this type of class action suit?
    – nick012000
    Mar 19, 2023 at 10:04
  • I expect so except I don't know anything about the legal structure of the NHS, and it's always possible that you can't sue the government. There is no relevant governmental organization in the US that would be a plausible defendant, given current facts.
    – user6726
    Mar 19, 2023 at 15:28
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    "The plaintiff would be "whoever is responsible for the wrong". Pretty sure you meant "defendant" in that sentence.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 20, 2023 at 6:49
  • The question is about minors, who don't necessarily have to give informed consent. Is it possible for a minor to sue when consent has been given by a parent or guardian?
    – Stuart F
    Mar 20, 2023 at 17:27
  • If a physician fails to give adequate notice of the risks, then consent, given by whoever, is not informed. This does raise a distinct legal question, whether a parent can be liable for bad parenting decisions. But generally speaking, you can't sue your parents for their parenting, unless the action that undertake legally constitutes abuse.
    – user6726
    Mar 20, 2023 at 18:11

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