First Alert 4 Investigates: Family says whistleblower made false claim of ‘permanent harm to many patients’ at WashU Pediatric Transgender Center

Published: Oct. 12, 2023 at 10:27 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A family told First Alert 4 Investigates that a whistleblower lied in an affidavit claiming the Washington University Pediatric Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital caused “permanent harm to many patients.”

Heidi and Greg are going by their first names to protect their daughter’s identity.

“There’s lies and people have paid for that in the transgender community,” said Heidi

Jamie Reed, a former case manager at the transgender center, wrote an affidavit that was released in February. Since then the affidavit has been used in court and in politics. This year, Missouri lawmakers passed a law making gender-affirming care for minors illegal.

Reed, who self-identifies as queer, spent four years at the center. She is not a doctor, and she worked intake. Reed claims she witnessed staff overprescribed gender care medications and she “witnessed children experience shocking injuries from those medications.”

Reed acknowledges she used Heidi and Greg’s daughter as an example of the dangers of the drug Bicalutamide. It’s used to block testosterone and a possible side effect is liver damage. In the affidavit, Reed claimed the child was told “to stop taking” the drug because of “liver damage.” The family said there’s more to it and gave First Alert 4 Investigates medical records showing the liver damage happened after their child got COVID-19. Their daughter, speaking to First Alert 4 over video call explained, “I had COVID and then I had long COVID, and then I took a drug for COVID that also had been documented to cause liver damage.”

Reed said in the affidavit, that the child’s parent wrote a doctor saying, “They were not the type to sue, but this could be a PR problem for you.”

The family gave First Alert 4 Investigates a copy of the message it reads “In our world it’s like a PR nightmare.”

When asked if they ever said they were going to sue the clinic or alluded to suing the clinic, Heidi responded, “No, nope.”

“It was only in our world this is a PR nightmare because of a very delicate emotional unfortunate situation with family,” she explained.

Reed didn’t include the part of the parent’s message that reads, “We don’t regret any decision and would never have denied [their daughter] these life-saving treatments.”

“In terms of the care our daughter received with the transgender center, we still have no regrets,” Greg added.

First Alert 4 investigates reached out to Reed and even stopped by her house, no one was home. Reed hasn’t been quiet; she’s done multiple interviews and written articles about the center.

She recently talked to the New York Times and was asked about Heidi and Greg’s daughter. The article states she “learned about the case” from a nurse who “helped her compile examples” and she “regretted citing the case when she had not seen the medical record herself.”

Reed ultimately provided First Alert 4 with a statement writing:

As reported in the NYT, I regret commenting on the parents’ comment. However, I stand by my statement in the affidavit that the renal department advised stopping the bicalutamide because the child was experiencing liver damage.

The bigger question is why this or any child was being placed on a drug with known risks of liver damage and even the adult gender clinic was not willing to prescribe. Beyond this I have no further comment.

First Alert 4 Investigates asked Washington University if the adult transgender center does not prescribe patients Bicalutamide. Washington University has not responded.

In messages to First Alert 4 Investigates Reed brought up her supporting evidence. First Alert 4 asked to see the evidence, but Reed hasn’t shared it.

Heidi and Greg want more answers.

“It’s blatant exploitation of my daughter’s medical situation,” Heidi said. “What else is wrong in the affidavit?”

Reed gave her affidavit to Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey who started investigating the Washington University center. While Bailey has also been outspoken his office told First Alert 4 Investigates they can’t comment because of the investigation.

Republican Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley said he’s doing his own investigation into the center.

“All of her key claims that the center was not equipped to actually treat these kids, was not following standards of care, frequently did not tell parents what was happening or explain to the kids, and I think worst of all takes these kids with serious mental health needs doesn’t help them, and instead pushes them towards sterilization procedures. It’s all there in black and white. It’s terrible,” Hawley said.

When asked if he was aware of Heidi and Greg’s claims questioning the credibility of the whistleblower, Hawley responded, “I think you have to take the balance of the evidence.”

“Wash U has basically admitted it because they have now stopped doing the treatment,” Hawley added.

Last month Washington University shut down the pediatric transgender center saying the Missouri law change banning treatment for minors leaves them facing an “unacceptable level of liability.” Washington University said it also investigated Reed’s claims and found them unsubstantiated.

The University did not comment for this story.

Other parents question what was written in the affidavit.

“We have not met a single parent who, whose experience has matched what is mentioned in the affidavit. The only complaints we’ve heard is the wait times to get in are really long,” said Danielle Meert.

Meert and her husband James Thurow have a child who was a patient at the center.

“We’ve dealt with the economics of trying to get the puberty blocker, which she says kids are getting without any sort of consent or whatnot. It’s $35,000. Like, what kid is paying a $35,000 medical bill? What parent is just going oh my god. 35,000? No big deal,” Thurow said.

Thurow and Meert are also the former heads of the St. Louis chapter of TransParent, a support group.

“We have never seen a parent come forward and say my kid has had bad care,” Thurow added.

The parents question Reed’s proof. In the affidavit, Reed says she created a “red flag list of children” where she and “other staff” “had concerns.”

“As a parent, not knowing if my child’s unredacted medical information is in her hands,” Meert said. “I would like to know why Wash U is not going after her for HIPAA violation. They have our private medical information. How would you feel if someone had your private medical information and was sharing it?”

In Heidi and Greg’s daughter’s case, the message Reed quotes from in the affidavit was sent in January 2023, months after she left the center in November 2022.

“She betrayed us she betrayed our trust,” Heidi said.

First Alert 4 Investigates asked Washington University if it investigated any HIPAA concerns around the affidavit, but Washington University has not responded.