Children’s Hospital Colorado will no longer identify patients as “male” or “female” on their hospital wristbands.
The Aurora hospital announced last week that it has removed gender identification “from wristbands, labels and prescriptions.”
“We want everyone who walks through our doors to feel comfortable and at home,” the hospital wrote on Twitter and its Facebook page, where people are leaving angry messages bashing the hospital for the change.
The move dovetails with the hospital’s work through its TRUE Center for Gender Diversity, created last year. The center works with transgender youths and their families, a place they can “receive medical help, such as puberty-blocking or hormone treatments, as well as access to a psychologist and other resources,” the Denver Post wrote last year.
The center has about 800 patients, according to KUSA in Denver.
“It’s not uncommon in our program to have families move from areas of Colorado that they perceive would be less welcoming and move into the Denver metro area where they feel there will be more support,” Daniel Reirden, one of the physicians whose work with transgender youths gave rise to the center, told the Post.
The idea to remove gender labels from wristbands sprang from the work of a gender diversity task force, according to KUSA.
The hospital is “seeing more and more patients who have diverse gender identities,” Natalie Nokoff, a pediatrician at the hospital who works with transgender and gender-fluid children, told KUSA. “I think that’s true of programs all across the United States.”
Though a patient’s gender will not longer be marked on wristbands, it will still be listed in their medical records, along with other “pertinent” information, such as their name and date of birth, the hospital says.
The hospital studied whether patient safety would be compromised by leaving the information off wristbands and concluded that it would not, it said on social media.
“We didn’t feel like there was any reason why that had to be publicly displayed on a wristband or sticker,” Nokoff told KUSA.
The move lit up debate on the hospital’s social media accounts, where critics are drowning out support for the move.
“Awful ... another crazy liberal decision ... .you all need your brains examined. it’s a mental issue!” wrote one woman on the hospital’s Facebook page.
“This is embarrassing for your institution,” tweeted another critic.
“This is very disturbing. Doctors ignoring basic biology ... Very sad,” wrote another on Facebook.
The hospital responded to one critic who wrote that the “gender of someone is VERY IMPORTANT in the medical field” and wondered “if this would be malpractice or child endangerment. You best get off the Social Justice Warrior stuff and stick with science.”
“Children’s Hospital Colorado is a place of healing and hope, where our patient-first philosophy is to treat all patients with dignity, respect, and the highest quality of care,” the hospital wrote back.
“After a full assessment, we concluded that the decision to remove gender from the patient wristband would not impact the safety for our patients. There have been no adverse events or patient safety concerns attributed to implementing this measure.”
Reirden told the Post last year that gender labels are a big deal to his transgender patients.
“It can be extraordinarily painful to sit in a room with a young person who you can watch not even be able to engage in a conversation because their wristband still has their birth name and their sex assigned at birth,” he told the newspaper “And they’re just pulling at it, waiting to rip it off.”