February 20, 2020
Anyone who met Kyler Prescott knew that he was special. A gifted artist, pianist, and poet, Kyler expressed his creativity through every aspect of his life. He worked hard perfecting his passions and loved to spend any additional free time advocating for animal justice and LGBTQ rights.
Kyler Prescott came out as transgender at age 13 and in May 2015, after enduring transphobic bullying and discrimination by peers and others, the Vista, CA teenager died by suicide. He was only 14 years old.
A month prior to his death, Katharine Prescott, Kyler’s mother, took Kyler to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego for suicidal ideation and for treatment of self-inflicted injuries. The hospital was aware that Kyler was a transgender boy and Katharine made clear to the hospital staff that her son must be treated as male. But during his stay, hospital staff repeatedly addressed Kyler as a girl. As a result, he continued to get worse and instead of treating him, Rady hospital discharged him early, before his medical hold even expired. Five weeks later, Kyler was gone.
On September 26, 2016, Kyler’s mother, Katharine Prescott, filed a lawsuit against Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego for discriminating against her son, misgendering him, and for claiming expertise in the care of transgender patients. After NCLR won two important rulings, Rady settled the case with Kyler’s mom in September 2019.
“When my son was in despair, I entrusted Rady Children’s Hospital with his safety and well-being,” said Katharine Prescott. “Hospitals are supposed to be safe places that help people when they’re in need. Instead of recovering at the hospital, Kyler got worse because staff continued to traumatize him by repeatedly treating him as a girl and ignoring his serious health issues. It’s painful to speak out, but I want to make sure no other parent or child ever has to go through this again.”