Hospital looks to gender treatment
Clinic open to corrective surgery after change in law
A private hospital is gearing up to offer gender correction surgery after a recent change in UAE law permitted such operations for the first time.
RAK Hospital has hired Dr Angelo Fusco, an expert in microsurgical genital reconstruction and is preparing to see potential patients.
Gender reassignment is possible under the new, wide-ranging Medical Liability law, which came into effect in August.
The law is intended to cover cases where surgery is deemed a medical necessity, such as corrective genital surgery.
But, as 7DAYS reported last month, at least one legal case has been lodged in Abu Dhabi in which a young Emirati woman is seeking to become a man.
The court is currently considering the case. Fusco, from Milan, was among the surgeons and delegates at Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Conference, which continues in Dubai today.
He told 7DAYS: “If the law permits it, I am ready to do this kind of surgery.”
RAK Hospital CEO Dr Reza Siddiqui said ensuring someone is eligible for surgery under the new law is complex, as is the procedure itself.
He said: “The law is very clear and specific. A male cannot become female and a female cannot become male.
“But there are a lot of cases that are very close which the law helps to become complete.
“We do have the ability, infrastructure and staff who would be able to do that reconstructive surgery if [the patient] met the genetic specification.”
Siddiqui said where uncertainty remained, the hospital would consult the Ministry of Health.
Head of Surgery at RAK Hospital, Dr Jean Marc Gauer, said that gender reassignment surgery could cost Dhs 30,000-Dhs 100,000.
He said both the patient’s genetics and how they have developed in terms of genitalia have to be taken into account. He said: “Still, we would on a case to case basis still definitely take the approval of the Ministry of Health, as it’s still a very touchy zone.”
Dr Michael Salivaras, chair of the conference, said any hospital offering gender surgery, would also need “psychologists, endocrinologists and legal advisers for passport and immigration issues”.
And the change remains controversial within the region.
One Emirati hospital director said the issue remains a “huge taboo” here.
He added: “There are people who have travelled outside the UAE before, but they would never dare come back.”
INJECTION: An estimated $500 million is spent on non-surgical procedures like botox every year in the UAE