If the nipple falls off “just throw it in the garbage”: When FTM Top Surgery Goes Wrong
March 16, 2014
From an online fundraiser here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/damien-leggett-surgery-fund–2
“On Oct 31st, 2013 Damien Leggett 34, was given a bilateral mastectomy performed at Pan Am Clinic in Winnipeg. The drains were removed Nov 4th. Damien should have been on the road to recovery within two weeks but within a week of the surgery it was very clear something was not right.
On Nov 10 he was admitted to St Boniface Hospital but transferred to Health Sciences Centre where he had an ultrasound and fluid was drained. This happened several times.
Damien’s condition deteriorated at home to the point that I called an ambulance as he had a high fever. His teeth were chattering and he was barely lucid. Early in the morn of Nov 17th he was admitted to HSC after the paramedics took a temp at his home of 39.5. He was very ill.
Damien was admitted with a postsurgical infection. By this time one of Damien’s nipples was necrotic and black but we were told it was “fine”.
Nearly five week after surgery Dec 4 at 12:30 in the afternoon Damien went to HSC emergency with his nipple hanging off pouring fluid, with redness, painful swelling, and abscesses. He was generally unwell and profoundly depressed.
After almost eight hours Damien asked a surgical resident what to do about the fact that the nipple his surgeon said was “fine” two weeks before was literally hanging off. The resident said not to worry – that people walk around with necrotic toes all the time. Damien said he was traumatized by the idea of his nipple falling off in his hand and the resident said that if it happened, he could just “throw it in the garbage.”
Damien was hospitalized in December with another surgical infection and spent another six days in hospital. Prior to Christmas, his surgeon came to see him for a couple of minutes at which point he cut off Damien’s nipple with a pair of scissors.
He was back in hospital again with abscesses and a fever on Christmas Day and stayed in until New Year’s Eve. It was not until February that he was able to return to school.
Damien has been given no choice but to have this devastating and terrible surgery corrected by a surgeon in Toronto. This surgery will correct as best it can the physical destruction. Despite this work, Damien will have no feeling in his upper chest area as a result of the total and irreversible damage from what should have been a relatively easy procedure.
Health care options for transgendered people are severely limited. Manitoba Health do not currently cover transgendered surgery out of province. In order to fix the terrible damage, Damien is expected to return the surgeon who performed the initial surgery. Once you view the video you will see how that is impossible to even comprehend.
We have no choice but to reach out to friends to help us fund the surgical procedure and the expenses that we will incur as he recovers in Toronto. If there are any funds not needed we will apply them towards a therapist as he has not been able to afford trans-friendly therapy and is sitting on multiple waiting lists, despite being diagnosed as suffering post-traumatic stress as a result of this painful and terrible ordeal.
Due to the shocking nature of the surgical results we were reluctant to upload post-op photos online but we felt it was important for you to see. It is the professional assessment of several surgeons that the results are catastrophic. We are blessed to have the council and services of Dr. Marc DuPere, one of the most preeminent and respected surgeons for transgendered patients, who is hopeful and optimistic that he can undo the worst of the damage and restore Damien’s chest to as normal an appearance as possible. The cost of the surgery is $11,271.75.
We are grateful that you have taken the time to read Damien’s story and look at photographs that are uncomfortable to see. The pain that he has endured at the hands of a health care system ignorant and in some cases outright hostile to transgendered people has been eye opening and heart breaking for me, as his partner.”