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Rady Children’s Hospital sued by family of transgender teen

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Katharine Prescott holds a portrait of her son, Kyler Prescott, in the garden she built in his memory outside her San Diego-area home. He passed away in May 2015.

SAN DIEGO — The mother of a transgender teenager filed a lawsuit Monday against Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego alleging that hospital staff discriminated against her transgender son.

Katharine Prescott says she took her 14-year-old son, Kyler, to Rady Children’s Hospital in 2015 to treat serious self-inflicted injuries after being harassed by his peers.

Prescott claims the hospital staff, although aware that Kyler was a transgender boy, traumatized the teenager further by repeatedly addressing him as a girl. Kyler was discharged early — 24 hours into his 72-hour stay — by the hospital’s psychiatrist, Prescott says.

Kyler committed suicide about five weeks later.

The complaint, filed in federal court in San Diego, states that RCHSD violated federal and California laws by discriminating against Kyler based on his sex (including his gender identity) and based on his disability, and that the hospital engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices by claiming that it was experienced in treating transgender patients, when in fact it discriminated against Kyler and made his condition worse.

“When my son was in despair. I entrusted Rady Children’s Hospital with his safety and well being,” said Katharine Prescott. “Hospitals are supposed to be safe places that help people when they’re in need. Instead of recovering at the hospital, Kyler got worse, because staff continued to traumatize him by repeatedly treating him as a girl and ignoring his serious health issues. It’s painful to speak out, but I want to make sure no other parent or child ever has to go through this again.”

Two months after her son took his life, Prescott shared Kyler’s story on Caitlyn Jenner’s series “I Am Cait” in hopes of helping other parents and kids as they make their way through the challenges of being transgender.

FOX 5 contacted Rady Children’s Hospital. We have not yet heard back.