Lawsuit over botched gender reassignment op
Publish date: 07 October 2019
Issue Number: 844
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
The transgender manager of a hardware store is claiming R3m from the Gauteng Health Department after a complication of a gender reassignment operation meant to give him a penis led to the amputation of his left leg, says a City Press report. According to papers filed in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), Shaun Wiggill underwent various gender reassignment surgeries from 2016 in order to transition from a woman to a man. He first underwent a mastectomy and then a hysterectomy. Thereafter, four surgeons were scheduled to perform the operation to create a sex organ for him at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. Skin flaps from Wiggill’s left arm and leg were used to construct the penis. According to the court papers, Wiggill experienced swelling, pain and loss of sensation in both legs and feet after the operation, but hospital personnel ignored the problems for hours. Two more operations to relieve the pressure followed before his left leg was amputated above the knee. He also listed other problems that had developed as a result of the procedure and inadequate nursing care. Wiggill believes that he should not have been advised to undergo the operation at that stage because of the potential risks caused by inadequate post-operative care, treatment and management. He avers that he was not informed of these risks before the surgery and says that had he been aware of them, he would have postponed the operation.