Question: How hard-hearted do you have to be (using Scrooge as an example, perhaps?) to not allow a life-altering surgery to take place? Answer: If you’re Aetna Insurance, pretty damn hard-hearted, would be my response. Aetna, which probably is worth billions of dollars, watches its pennies very carefully because you don’t get that big by being stupid…right? What then, was the criteria for what you’re about to read?
Back in December of 2017 a young girl, one Cara Pressman by name, fifteen years old, who has suffered from seizures since she was 9, had asked Aetna, which was her parents’ medical insurance company, to have a surgery, Laser ablation, which might have cured or certainly alleviated her epileptic seizures. Her parents informed her that Aetna, their medical insurance company, had denied her request that could treat her condition, which was scheduled to take place three days after the denial was issued. The surgery, which was minimally invasive, would have eased or eliminated the cold and shakes that she experiences during the seizures. Although “zoned out” during the seizures she said she is “awake” and aware of what’s going on around her. Ms. Pressman said that it’s like having a nightmare when you’re awake…which would scare the daylights out of me!
She said that she had a message for Aetna: “Considering they’re denying me getting surgery and stopping this thing that’s wrong with my brain, I would probably just say, ‘Screw you.’” Laser ablation surgery is considered minimally invasive, only requiring a small hole in the skull for the laser to reach and destroy the lesions that cause the seizures. The approach is considered much safer than traditional brain surgery by neurologists. Aetna considers laser ablation surgery “experimental and investigational for the treatment of epilepsy because the effectiveness of this approach has not been established,” even though the device used in the procedure is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In a letter, Aetna wrote, “Clinical studies have not proven that this procedure is effective for treatment of the member’s condition.” However, and this is odd, Aetna did approve for Pressman to have a temporal lobectomy, the more invasive, and more expensive, open brain surgery, even though such approval was never sought by Pressman’s medical team. Aetna cited statements by the Epilepsy Foundation which showed only small studies had been completed to determine the effectiveness by laser ablation surgery, though the Epilepsy Foundation says their data was used out of context.
But, according to the Epilepsy Foundation’s chief science officer, Dr. Jacqueline French, the procedure “has emerged as a new minimally invasive surgical option that is best suited for patients with symptomatic localization-related epilepsy.” French also asserts that “this path should be available, if the treating epilepsy physician has recommended it, without delay or barriers.”
Perhaps I’m not understanding Aetna’s position on this, but it sounds like they’re on both sides of the discussion, while not giving Ms. Pressman the surgery she desperately needs.
A statement issued by The American College of Pediatricians (ACoP) on August 12th, condemned gender reclassification in children by stating that transgenderism in children amounts to child abuse. The stories told by the ACoP have been rampant of parents treating their little boys as girls because they “thought they identified” that way. The ACoP urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.”
The policy statement, by Johns Hopkins Medical School Psychology Professor Paul McHugh, listed eight arguments on why gender reclassification is harmful:
1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder.
2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one.
3. A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind, not the body, and it should be treated as such.
4. Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous. Reversible or not, puberty-blocking hormones induce a state of disease – the absence of puberty – and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child.
5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.
6. Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. Cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including, but not limited to, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer.
7. Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBQT – affirming countries.
8. Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful as child abuse.
Parting shot: Children are not experiments, so don’t subject them to weird stuff.