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Teen Boy Forced To Take Estrogen Without Consent

The family of a teenage boy in Los Angeles has filed a complaint against the county for administering female hormones. According to the complaint, the family alleges their son was prescribed estrogen without getting voluntary consent of their child or the parents. The family says they were never informed of the purpose, options, side effects, or benefits of taking estrogen.

The minor is named as “J.N.” in the lawsuit. At the time, J.N. was a 16-year-old who was detained in the Eastlake Juvenile Hall by the County of Los Angeles. He was taken for a medical evaluation and diagnosed by the medical staff with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). ODD can be associated with high levels of testosterone in young males. The boy had slightly elevated levels of testosterone according to chemical tests.

When the teen asked medical staff why he was prescribed the medication, the complaint alleges the staff falsely told him it was to treat a small nodule in his chest. He said he planned to refuse the estrogen but they told him he was not allowed to refuse any medication prescribed by the doctors. 

The complaint states the minor almost immediately began to experience negative physical, emotional, cognitive, and psychological effects. The boy claimed he developed enlargement of his breast tissue, and pain and soreness in his breasts. The boy also claimed to begin experiencing depression, anxiety, attention problems, and headaches. The boy eventually refused to take any more medications and after a medical exam, he was taken off the estrogen. 

The family has filed a complaint alleging medical negligence for inappropriately prescribing estrogen to the youth and for lack of informed consent to the parents or the minor. 

Is Estrogen a Treatment for ODD?

According to a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA, James McGough stated, “estrogen is not a treatment for ODD. I can’t be more emphatic about that.” Additionally, McGough stated there is no reference that supports the use of estrogen for patients with ODD. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, ODD symptoms can include:

  • Angry and irritable mood (easily loses temper, is touchy and easily annoyed, is angry and resentful)
  • Argumentative and defiant (argues with people in authority, refuses to comply with rules, blames others for mistakes)
  • Vindictiveness  

Acceptable treatment for ODD generally involves family-based interventions, training, and therapy. Medications are not generally used for ODD unless there are other health disorders or coexisting disorders.  

Estrogen Hormone Therapy Risks

Estrogen and hormone therapy are options for other health conditions, for example, in treating the symptoms of menopause. However, there are risks associated with using hormone therapy.  Some possible risks of hormone therapy include:

  • Heart disease
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke

According to a study on the use of estrogen therapy in men with schizophrenia, the findings indicate, “the risk of venous thrombosis is another concern of long term use of estrogen therapy.”

Prescribing Medicine Without Consent or for Unapproved Use 

Healthcare professionals should not prescribe medication against the standard of care or fail to inform you of the risks of experimental treatment. If you were harmed because you were misinformed by a doctor, speak with a medical malpractice attorney. Fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today to talk to our team. 

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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