A woman who claims she was rushed into transgender surgery is suing the doctors who gave her a double mastectomy as a child.
Luka Hein was given the irreversible operation at 16 and says the surgery has left her with daily pain, while the hormone drugs may have robbed her of the chance of becoming a mother.
The Minnesotan, now 21, suffered a traumatizing few years as a teenager when her parents went through a bitter divorce and she was groomed by a man she met on the internet.
She became increasingly withdrawn and spent more time online, where she began following trans influencers and became convinced she was born the wrong gender.
Luka claims she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a therapist within an hour during her first session and was referred for ‘top’ surgery after her second appointment.
She told DailyMail.com: ‘I was going through the darkest and most chaotic time in my life, and instead of being given the help I needed, these doctors affirmed that chaos into reality.’
Luka before she received any gender-affirming care
Luka showing the scars on her chest after her irreversible double mastectomy
She added: ‘I don’t think kids can ever consent to having essentially full bodily functions taken away at a young age before they even know what that means.
‘I was talked into medical intervention that I could not fully understand the long-term impacts and consequences of.’
A lawsuit Ms Hein filed today in Nebraska accuses the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) gender clinic of malpractice and seeks financial damages.
Luka said she is suing for financial compensation and ‘accountability for the fact that these [doctors] put me through this.’
In her 28-page complaint, she said when she went back to the doctors to tell them she regretted the operation, she was told to seek mental health counseling.
The suit claims her doctor then said: ‘I guess this is just part of your gender journey.’
‘I was essentially just brushed aside,’ Luka told DailyMail.com
She has since decided to ‘detransition’ and live as a woman.
But the treatments have allegedly left her with permanent scars, a deep voice and erratic hormones.
She also claims she has pain in her joints, lumbar spine, hands, wrists, elbows and pelvic area as a result of hormone therapy, adding she will not be able to breastfeed and may be infertile.
Harmeet Dhillon, Luka’s lawyer from the Center for American Liberty, told DailyMail.com: ‘This is really shocking malpractice.’
She said: ‘Coercive methods were used to coerce the family into agreeing to it, such as a false representation about the mental health fallout from not doing it. “Your daughter will commit suicide if you don’t agree to this,” was communicated to her parents.
‘Doctors should not behave to vulnerable children or families in this manner, period. Doctors should not be mutilating and permanently disfiguring children, period, without some medical necessity, which did not present itself in this case.’
As a result of the treatment she received, Luka will not be able to breastfeed and may be infertile
Luka is the latest so-called ‘detransitioner’ to take legal action against her doctors in lawsuits that could prove pivotal in America’s heated debate about transgender rights and medical procedures, especially those on children.
Her papers were filed at the District County Court in Douglas County in Nebraska this afternoon.
They name Dr Ahia Amoura, an OB/GYN physician and Megan Smith-Sallans, who worked at the gender clinic as an ‘affirming’ therapist.
Also named is Dr Perry Johnson, who performed the surgery, and Dr Stephan Barrientos, who assisted with the surgery, and also both work at UNMC’s gender clinic.
They are accused of medical malpractice in the complaint, which also demands a jury trial. The defendants did not immediately answer DailyMail.com’s requests for comment.
Luka said her ordeal began in 2015, when the divorce of her parents turned the then 13-year-old’s world upside down.
She was forced to split her time between two households, and her life became ‘chaotic.’
Luka struggled in school and suffered anxiety and panic attacks. She lost her appetite, started self-harming and talked of suicide.
She was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder and given antipsychotic medication.
In 2017, Luka was groomed online and preyed upon by an older man from another state who persuaded her to send him sexually explicit pictures.
When she refused to send more, he threatened her. She became terrified, and law enforcement was notified.
Upon entering puberty, Luka hated getting her period and was extremely uncomfortable with her developing breasts.
Traumatized by her online encounter with the older man, Luka wondered whether it would be best to have no breasts at all.
She began exploring matters of sexuality online and found transgender influencers who championed hormones and surgery.
She ordered a chest binder, transferred from an all-girls school, and changed her name. Luka started to identify as male and told her parents and mental health providers she was transgender.
Because of what she had learned online, she thought having her breasts removed might help her mental state.
After just 55 minutes in her initial session in July 2017, Luka claims the clinic made a ‘snap’ diagnosis of gender identity disorder.
This ‘fails to meet the standard of care for the proper evaluation of gender identity disorder’, the lawsuit says.
The quickness of the diagnosis created a ‘feedback system that manipulates patients like Luka to deeper–and more damaging–levels of transgender medical intervention’, the suit adds.
In October 2017, Ms Smith-Sallans referred Luka to the gender clinic for a double mastectomy.
Prior to the surgery, Luka told DailyMail.com she had stopped wearing her chest binder for a few months due to constant rib pain.
She said: ‘I remember being like, hey, this isn’t that bad. I was still pushed into surgery anyway.’
She underwent the irreversible procedure on July 26, 2018, which the complaint said she was ‘incapable of consenting to.’
Luka said the first week after the surgery was ‘one of the worst times in my life.’
Since going public with her story, Luka has become close to around 20 other detransitioners.
She said getting to meet people who can most closely understand what she has been through has been ‘one of the most healing things.’
In the last couple of years, many states have taken steps to restrict or ban transgender care for people under age 18.
Several medical associations say such healthcare saves lives among a suicide-prone group.
But opponents of trans ideology say sex is determined at birth and cannot be changed, that medical advisory groups have been hijacked by ideologues and that politicians must intervene to stop parents, doctors, or therapists from permanently harming children.
Many are alarmed by the sharp uptick in teenage girls with autism and other mental health woes asking for sex reassignment in recent years, and of new studies linking puberty blockers to weaker bones and osteoporosis.
Whether to allow drugs and surgery for trans-identifying children has become a frontline in America’s culture wars, with Republicans pushing to outlaw gender-affirming care in some 20 states this year.
Sex-change surgeries carried out across US annually have nearly tripled in recent years. About 48,000 patients underwent such surgeries during the five years studied, with about 13,000 procedures done in 2019, the peak year, and 12,800 in 2020.