The mother of a transgender boy who killed himself shortly after allegeldy getting ridiculed by staff at Rady Children’s Hospital has settled the discrimination lawsuit she filed.
Fourteen-year-old Kyler Prescott was admitted to Rady Children’s Hospital’s Gender Management Clinic in April 2015 as a result of having suicidal thoughts and what appeared to be serious self-inflicted wounds after he was bullied and harassed by classmates for him identifying as a boy.
But according to a lawsuit filed after Kyler’s suicide, hospital staff ignored his mother, Katherine Prescott’s requests for staff to use the correct pronoun when referring to Kyler.
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That, however, didn’t happen. Despite having his name legally changed and notes in his medical records indicating his gender change, staff at the hospital allegedly refused. According to court documents one hospital worker told him, “Honey, I would call you a ‘he’, but you’re such a pretty girl.”
The discrimination lawsuit said other patients then began to tease and bully Kyler about his gender, adding to his gender dysphoria.
Kyler was discharged early due to an increased level of “distress.”
“He ended up getting worse, not better, and they ended up discharging him early,” said Amy Whelan with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who represented Katherine Prescott in a 2016 discrimination lawsuit against the hospital.
Within two months, Kyler was dead.
“We just need to do better as a society to support these kids and make sure they are safe,” added Whelan. “Even here in California there are widespread problems of medical providers and offices not being informed about and skilled at treating transgender patients.”
Earlier this month the case settled for an undisclosed amount of money.
A spokesperson from Rady Children's Hospital sent NBC 7 Investigates a statement, “While we cannot comment further due to confidentiality requirements, our top priority is providing the highest level of care to our patients and families. We are particularly proud of our expanded Center for Gender Affirming Care where we seek to provide comprehensive, compassionate, up-to-date care and support to transgender and gender diverse youth and their families.”
Whelan said Katherine Prescott’s chief motivation in filing the lawsuit was to improve treatment of transgender kids in healthcare settings.
Prescott declined to comment on the settlement. Attorney Whelan told NBC 7 that Prescott is relieved to have this case behind her and that she continues to advocate for transgender children and their families in her son's honor.
LGBTQ people may experience more negative mental health outcomes due to prejudice and other biases.
Here is a list of helpful services if you or someone you love is thinking about suicide:
The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 (online chat available)
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline: (888) 843-4564
The GLBT National Youth Talkline (youth serving youth through age 25): (800) 246-7743