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Wednesday October 18, 2006
The UK’s best-known gender psychiatrist told a patient that he should work as an escort to pay for his sex change, an inquiry heard today.
The General Medical Council disciplinary hearing into Dr Russell Reid heard that he advised the male-to-female transsexual patient that there was “a market for an effeminate young man such as yourself”.
Dr Reid, who faces 10 charges of serious professional misconduct in his treatment of five former patients, denies advising the patient, known only as E, to do escort work. But his medical notes state patient E was “considering escort work locally”.
The psychiatrist, who had a private practice in Earls Court, west London, was also charged with wrongly providing sex-changing treatment to a severely mentally ill woman.
Dr Reid has denied inappropriate behaviour towards the patients and he has also denied acting contrary to guidance given in the international gender dysphoria association standards of care. He has further denied a charge of serious professional misconduct in relation to the patients.
The inquiry heard the female patient, known as D, was rushed into taking hormones and a referral for a bilateral mastectomy. This was despite a second opinion from another psychiatrist warning that treatment should be delayed, pending further psychiatric assessment of the patient.
Barrister Richard Tyson, acting on behalf of the complainants, said patient D suddenly decided she wanted to become a man after watching a TV programme on transsexualism.
The second psychiatrist, Dr Dalrymple, noted there were discrepancies in her story and advised she should not receive hormones until it was clear her desire to change sex was not just a reaction to watching the TV programme. But Dr Reid admitted he went ahead and prescribed hormone tablets. Patient D was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after injecting male hormones, which made her “feel so out of it she became she was convinced she was Jesus”.
She was later sectioned after being found wandering the streets naked soon after her last appointment with Dr Reid. Doctors said she believed she was possessed by various spirits including that of her grandfather, and diagnosed her with manic depression. After treatment she no longer wished to change sex.
The inquiry heard that patient D had a history of depression and had been treated with Prozac prior to seeing Dr Reid.
Her family repeatedly expressed their concern to Dr Reid, warning that she had previously convinced an eye specialist that she needed glasses when she did not.
Patient D’s father wrote to Dr Reid expressing his “shock and concern” at the speed of the treatment. He wrote: “It is an understatement to say your diagnoses is rushed.”
Dr Reid has admitted he failed to adequately assess patient D’s mental and physical health prior to prescribing hormones.
The inquiry also heard how Dr Reid had prescribed another patient – referred to as patient F – with 26 months of female hormones, without having made necessary physical checks.
Patient F was also “devastated” when Dr Reid issued a formal letter stating that she was a female-to-male transsexual when in fact the reverse was true.
The hearing continues.