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Mumbai hospital has dedicated clinic for those seeking sex change

After performing genital reconstructive surgery on 29-year-old Beed constable Lalit Salve in May this year, doctors at the state-run St George hospital have now started a ‘gender reassignment out-patient department

mumbai Updated: Sep 27, 2018 12:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Dr Rajat Kapoor, head of plastic surgery department, who operated on Salve said  that so far, 13 people with gender identity problems have reached out to him.
Dr Rajat Kapoor, head of plastic surgery department, who operated on Salve said that so far, 13 people with gender identity problems have reached out to him.(Representative Photo)
         

After performing genital reconstructive surgery on 29-year-old Beed constable Lalit Salve in May this year, doctors at the state-run St George hospital have now started a ‘gender reassignment out-patient department (OPD)’ at the hospital.

The OPD, first-of-its-kind in a public set-up in the city, will be open on Tuesdays from 9.30am to 12pm.

Doctors said increasing number of people have approached them for problems related to gender identity disorder or dysphoria since Salve’s case.

Dr Rajat Kapoor, head of plastic surgery department, who operated on Salve said that so far, 13 people with gender identity problems have reached out to him.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical gender and the gender with which they identify, making them uncomfortable with their bodies.

“Earlier, patients used to visit hospitals either with a friend or a social worker from an NGO, but now, they are coming with their family members,” Kapoor said.

The idea behind starting such an OPD is to provide a set up for people to comfortably discuss their problems, he said.

Before starting the surgeries, every case will need evaluation by two independent psychiatrists to confirm the condition. Before the surgery, patients need to change their names to what they would prefer and start dressing accordingly so they mentally get into the skin of their preferred gender.

Gender reassignment surgeries are conducted in stages over a span of two years.

Along with the surgery, patients are also given hormonal supplements and counselling.

Dr Kapoor said the cost of the surgery will be one-third of what is charged in private hospitals, where it costs ₹3 to 7 lakhs.

Andheri-based surgeon Dr Parag Telang said, “The OPD will allow people to interact with others and share experiences,” he said.

Dr Kersi Chavda, associated with the Indian Psychiatric Society, said an OPD in a pubic set-up was much needed to ensure access to people from all economic strata.

“Getting the surgeries in private hospitals is certainly not cheap. It is wonderful that it has started in a public hospital,” said Chavda.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 04:27 IST

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