Parents accuse MUSC, Greenville Hospital System of performing unnecessary sex assignment operation on infant

A Columbia couple is suing the Medical University of South Carolina, Greenville Hospital System and the S.C. Department of Social Services on behalf of their 8-year-old son for performing “medically unnecessary” sex assignment surgery on the child in 2006.

Pam and Mark Crawford have filed lawsuits in Richland County Common Pleas Court and federal court in Charleston this morning.

Mark and Pam Crawford adopted their son, identified in court papers as M.C., after MUSC surgeons removed his male reproductive organs six years ago. At the time of the surgery, M.C. was in DSS custody because his birth mother was deemed unfit to care for him and his biological father abandoned the baby. M.C. was born with a rare intersex condition called ovotesticular disorder of sexual development, showing evidence of both male and female reproductive organs.

The Crawfords adopted the child as a girl, although “It became clearer and clearer over time that he was letting us know that his gender was a boy,” Pam Crawford said in a telephone interview.

M.C., now in first grade, identifies himself as a boy to his classmates, his parents said.

The Crawfords made the decision to file the lawsuits because the surgery is irreversible.

“His choice has been taken from him. It’s too late for our child. We want it to stop for other children,” Pam Crawford said.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.