Camille Kiefel, a 32-year-old woman who previously identified as nonbinary, is suing the medical team that approved her 2020 mastectomy. According to the Washington Examiner, Kiefel is suing social worker Amy Ruff, mental health therapist Mara Burmeister, and their companies for approving the procedure after only two counseling sessions, which occurred via Zoom.
Kiefel is now seeking $850,000 in damages.
In Kiefel’s lawsuit, she alleges the defendants gave her “unnecessary, irreversible treatment” without properly assessing her mental state. She reportedly suffers from social anxiety, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
According to the Washington Examiner, she has also dealt with post-surgery complications, including trouble swallowing, pupil dilation, and a faulty nausea treatment resulting in scopolamine poisoning.
According to the New York Post, gender identity was never a huge concern to Kiefel as a child. However, when she entered sixth grade, her best friend was raped and it began to cross her mind. In addition, her father also offered her some well-meaning advice, but it seemed to cause more harm than good.
My dad told me about how men talked about girls because he wanted to protect me and to get me to dress more conservatively. But it made my anxiety worse. All that really screwed me up. I remember I was even afraid to be alone.
From that point, Kiefel began dressing more androgynously.
I didn’t want to highlight my curves. I had a lot of discomfort around my breasts and hips.
When Kiefel enrolled at Portland State University, she minored in gender studies and was introduced to nonbinary labels and alternative pronouns. By 2020, she felt that undergoing the top surgery would help ease her anxieties.
I was so dysfunctional, and I just wanted something that was going to help me,” she recalled. “I thought I would be happier.
According to the New York Post, Kiefel spoke to her doctors twice, once in May and once in June. Both sessions occurred on Zoom and lasted for about an hour. She never saw any doctor or specialist in person prior to undergoing her mastectomy on August 28, 2020.
When Kiefel began experiencing complications after her surgery, she says, doctors stopped taking her seriously. And she was ultimately left on her own.
Doctors took me seriously up until surgery, but after I developed all these complications, I noticed they stopped taking me seriously. I was on my own at that point.
She also recalls not feeling extremely happy with her results afterward.
I remember when the doctor took the bandages off, I felt kind of mixed.
Today, Kiefel identifies as a woman and refers to nonbinary transitions as “Frankenstein surgery.”
There’s nothing to transition to as nonbinary. There’s no third sex out there. It’s just based on a feeling that this would be a good fit for you. It’s a designer surgery but I didn’t think of it at the time… It’s a weird Frankenstein surgery that they’re doing.
Despite her current feelings, Kiefel acknowledges that she’ll have to deal with the results of her surgery for the rest of her life. She’s hopeful that her suit will bring awareness to the issue, as she says there are many people “who should not be getting these surgeries” that are.
There are underlying health issues that are being overlooked. People like myself are slipping through the cracks.