An Oregon woman is suing caregivers for approving her female-to-male breast removal surgery after just brief Zoom meetings, unleashing a “horrific misdiagnosis” that left her “mutilated” and unable to breastfeed.
Camille Kiefel says she soon regretted having a double mastectomy in August 2020, and that clinicians at two Oregon centers for gender-affirming care should not have given the procedure the green light.
The 32-year-old is suing social worker Amy Ruff, mental health therapist Mara Burmeister, other unnamed medics, and Brave Space Oregon and the Quest Center for Integrative Health — two Portland-based trans health centers.
In the complaint, filed in the Oregon State Courts, Kiefel accuses her healthcare team of “reckless abuse” of their “position of trust and authority as mental health professionals.”
She “continues to suffer from extreme, excruciating, severe emotional distress, including but not limited to feelings of betrayal by mental health professionals, humiliation, fear and anxiety over the loss of her breasts,” the 13-page document says.
Camille Kiefel testified in Florida last month about the dangers of quickly following young people to irreversible surgeries, such as the double mastectomy she now regrets.
She also has to “live with a permanently scarred, disfigured and physically painful or uncomfortable chest, and deep feelings of regret at needlessly and permanently losing her choice to ever breastfeed a child.”
According to court documents, Kiefel suffered from various mental health issues as a child and teenager, eventually identifying as non-binary in 2016 and feeling “distress” about her breasts. She believed that a double mastectomy would solve her problems.
She had a one-hour Zoom session with Ruff in May 2020 and then a 40-minute video call with Burmeister in July, after which both experts wrote recommendations that Kiefel should undergo a breast reduction, the complaint said.
Kiefel says her caregivers should have spent more time assessing her case and history of mental health problems, rather than effectively churning out “life-changing, physically damaging, irreversible” surgery.
In fact, Burmeister’s referral letter used “cut-and-paste standard language” with people seeking sex reassignment surgery rather than describing the specifics of Kiefel’s case, she claims.
Amy Ruff, left, a clinical social worker, and Mara Burmeister, a mental health therapist, are being sued by patient Camille Kiefel for approving her female-to-male gender reassignment surgery
She went under the knife in August 2020, but it didn’t solve Kiefel’s problems and in May 2022 she realized that the surgery had been a mistake, that she didn’t have to switch and that she could address her problems with talk therapy.
The defendants “break the boundaries of socially acceptable behavior by abusing their positions of trust and authority” by recommending “unnecessary, irreversible treatment” without weighing Kiefel’s mental health problems, the indictment said.
Due to the surgery, Kiefel must endure a “lifelong inability to ever choose to breastfeed a child” and doubt she will ever find a “life partner who is sexually and romantically attracted to a woman without breasts,” it adds. ready.
Kiefel has called for a jury trial, demanding up to $850,000 in damages.
David Mepham, the attorney for Burmeister and the Quest Center, said the group’s employees always strive to provide quality services to their customers, and we believe that’s what happened in this case. Our intention is to fully defend this case.”
Kate Kauffman, the owner of Brave Space, said the organization “respects the privacy of all current and former customers and does not comment on pending lawsuits.”
In public appearances, Kiefel has spoken more vehemently about her concern. Addressing a Florida medical board last month, she complained of a misdiagnosis that left her with a “mutilated” and “excised body.”
Like other young women who want to switch and later regret it, Kiefel describes her gender reassignment surgery as a “way for me to escape womanhood” and the social pressures women face today.
“The surgery was a horrific misdiagnosis — the goal of health care should always be to get to the root of the problem,” she said.
‘Where my breasts were, are hollow. I’ll never get them back. I can never try on a dress the same way again. I can never breastfeed. Who will love me?’
The case stems from concerns about the number of young women with mental health problems who think the transition to men will solve their problems, only to regret the procedures later and try to make the transition, as the reversal process is called.
Camille Kiefel today uses social media to campaign against medical transitions and for alternative therapies
Kiefel’s case is funded by the Women’s Liberation Fronta feminist group that supports several civil lawsuits against clinicians who quickly send women to sex reassignment surgery when therapy is a better option.
“It is incredibly harmful for health care providers to encourage their clients to amputate completely healthy body parts or fundamentally alter their bodies just to conform to sexist stereotypes,” the group’s director, Mahri Irvine, told DailyMail.com.
“Advisers should work with clients to find healthy ways to deal with identity problems, rather than encouraging them to make permanent adjustments to their bodies.”
‘Encouraging a client in any way to amputate completely healthy body parts, or fundamentally alter their physical bodies, to conform to social stereotypes, is an incredibly harmful thing to do’, ‘It is not supportive, and it may seem supportive at the moment, but no thought is given to that client’s long-term success in life and long-term health.”
For those experiencing gender dysphoria — the distress felt as a result of a mismatch between biological sex and gender identity — transitioning with cross-sex hormones and surgery can be life-changing and beneficial.
Still, some experts warn against providing irreversible treatments, especially to adolescents, and point to a growing number of people regretting procedures and trying to switch.
Statistics on the subject are disputed, but there seems to be a rise in the number of young people who want to switch, and studies suggest that online social media and peer groups are playing a role in the resurgence.
Experts are divided on the emergence and possible causes. Many associate it with growing understanding and acceptance of gender dysphoria, others liken it to a “contagion” or fad driven by peers and social media.