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Swedish Hospital sued for allegedly refusing transgender man's surgery

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Swedish Health Services for allegedly refusing surgery to a transgender man.

The ACLU of Washington says Ari Robbins had a medical referral for chest reconstruction, a surgery recommended for some transgender men. ACLU writer Amy Roe said Swedish "inexplicably" canceled the operation with a few weeks’ notice.

"He had to scramble to find another doctor and schedule another surgery before his paperwork ran out," Roe said. "We're filing this lawsuit because transgender people should not be discriminated against for seeking health care that's medically necessary."

Roe said Robbins ended up scheduling the surgery with a surgeon in Idaho and had to travel during his exam week of law school.

The ACLU is suingSwedish, its affiliate, Providence Health and Services, and the individual surgeon. The lawsuit asks for monetary damages and for the hospital to implement strong non-discrimination policies.

A spokesperson for Swedish said they provide care and many treatment options for transgender patients, and said in light of that Swedish takes this claim very seriously. The spokesperson said they can't comment further on the case because of privacy laws.