SEATTLE -- It's a first-of-its-kind in the region, and the fifth in the country. This week, Seattle Children's Hospital opened a new 'Gender Clinic' for children and young adults.
The doctors behind this clinic say they saw a need in our community. They say transgender patients often feel a disconnect between medical providers -- a lack of information and real understanding.
Doctors say a clinic like this puts all that care for transgender issues in one place, hoping to prevent years of anxiety, depression, even suicide.
Before every checkup, Dr. David Breland checks in with his staff at Seattle Children`s. Technically speaking, Breland is an adolescent medicine specialist, but he's better known as a 'champion' among the transgender community.
Breland spearheaded the Gender Clinic, a first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and only the fifth in the nation, serving patients ages 8 to 21.
“I felt that we needed to have some equitable health care for this population,” says Breland.
Breland says patient care at the Gender Clinic is about mind and body. He says it`s about treating the whole person.
And 15-year-old Skyler Pfeil says it`s about time.
“Yeah, I am really happy because for transgender kids, it can take one doctor to save their life,” says Skyler.
The high school sophomore transitioned during his middle school years.
“They are young people, just going through those early stages of development. You`re critiquing every part of yourself; accepting yourself, too, is just as hard and just as painful,” says Corina, Skyler’s mother.
Breland says his gender clinic will provide pubertal blockers for younger kids so they have more time to figure out what they really want and who they really are, while older youth can explore hormone treatments.
Breland says this youth gender clinic will not offer surgeries, but they can refer patients to a provider if that is what they want.
The clinic is open every Tuesday.
For more information go to http://www.seattlechildrens.org/clinics-programs/gender-clinic/