The Servizo Galego de Saúde (SERGAS) has been sentenced to pay for the vaginoplasty that a transsexual woman faced in private health care for not receiving a response from the Galician administration. The judges understand that the woman did not go “in a capricious way” to the private one but did so because of the impossibility of receiving a response from the Xunta and obliges the administration to pay the more than 22,000 euros that she invested in a private clinic in Barcelona .
A court recognizes the right of a trans woman to have a final sentence already issued adapted to her identity
The case, according to the documentation to which elDiario.es has had access, is that of Sara Romero, the same Galician woman who won an important legal battle to be able to adapt final sentences to the identity of transsexual people. In 2016 he went to the Galician public health to undergo surgery and formalized the request for referral to the private one after a doctor from the Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña (CHUAC) recommended it in the absence of a public referral center for do it in Galicia or another part of the country.
This type of operations for trans people are included as a public service in the Galician non-discrimination law of 2014, but at that time there were no public reference centers to carry them out. The first response from the General Directorate of Healthcare was to request more information and then not to give any response. Faced with the silence of the administration, Sara went to the IM Clinic in Barcelona as recommended by the doctor from the CHUAC endocrinology service.
The response of the Galician administration came when at the end of 2018 Sara demanded that they take charge of the more than 22,000 euros that the mammoplasty and vaginoplasty had cost her in the private clinic. And that answer was a resounding ‘no’ ratified in the first instance by a social court in A Coruña. The Justice alleged that it was not a life-threatening case and that, furthermore, the doctor’s approval could not be taken into account as an authorization but as a non-binding favorable opinion for SERGAS.
Now, it has been the social chamber of the Superior Court of Xustiza de Galicia (TSXG) that has turned the situation around and forced SERGAS to take over the more than 22,000 euros that Sara invested in the operation. The judges understand that the Galician public health did not provide a solution to this woman, that she did not end up going “capriciously” to private health and remember that silence cannot be an answer to this type of request.
“You have the right “to be operated by the public
The ruling, which has had as rapporteur Judge Raquel María Naveiro, assures in the first place that “it is clear” that Sara “has the right to have the surgical intervention provided by the managing entity because it is part of the portfolio of common services assumed by SERGAS “. It is true that the case “does not meet” the urgency requirements but it is also true, says Justice, that “it was not a unilateral and capricious decision” of the woman but rather that “she went to said health center because in public health in the who was being treated could not provide such a benefit “.
In addition, the sentence to which this newspaper has had access adds, “it is not authorized within a reasonable period of time to carry out the surgical intervention, finally filing it without further ado”. The TSXG makes it clear that this does not mean that this type of silence by the administration means accepting the request without further ado, but it does condemn SERGAS for denying it the right through its silence. She, they reiterate, “went, acting in good faith, to the only way to which she could go to obtain a benefit to which she is entitled, and that she should not have been denied on the grounds that she did not wait to finish the management “.
SERGAS had opposed his appeal, stating that “it clearly and emphatically confuses the care process with an administrative process for reimbursement of expenses” and that in the best of cases “the three months foreseen for the issuance of the an express resolution “. In any case, he added, “even if it had not been resolved in time, the silence would not be negative (…) understanding the court decision to be correct when it indicates that it applies to the provision of transnational healthcare expenses.” At the moment the Galician administration has not decided whether to appeal the decision and take the case to the Supreme Court.
This is not the first legal battle that Sara Romero has won in court. With a career in associations such as Transforma or Arelas, a little more than two years ago she also got the Provincial Court of A Coruña to recognize her right to have final sentences adapted to reflect her true identity as a transsexual woman. The solution found by magistrate José Luis Seoane, currently in the first chamber of the Supreme Court, was to issue a new version of the ruling but with Sara’s name updated in a pioneering sentence.
“We were all in limbo “
In statements to elDiario.es, Sara explains that in 2016 she was at a point where the next logical step, for her health and to feel good about herself, was to undergo this intervention. But he came face to face with the silence of SERGAS. “I had the right to this operation and SERGAS had to facilitate this operation for me and they cannot deny me because of waiting in a legal limbo for the time they consider and without specifying what they were really doing,” he says. A limbo that, he assures, was widespread at the time, although at present he recognizes that the Galician administration has fixed the situation and “they have already operated on several people in A Coruña” as a result of his case.
It is his second legal battle won in court. “I have fewer rights than a cis person, I have to fight for them. I have realized that either I am a very pioneer or that there are people who bow their heads because they do not want to expose themselves. I think we have to expose themselves and fight for rights, In all history they have never been given away. It is important that we see that it is possible and we have to fight, there is no other option, “he says. “They cannot tell us that they are doing paperwork, without specifying what paperwork and not giving you time, it cannot be that an entity uses those arguments,” he adds regarding the SERGAS case. And ditch: “That is why a specific trans law is so important. So that later, if there is an LGTBi law, it can be equal to all people.”