Camille Kiefel, 32, filed a lawsuit against social worker Amy Ruff, mental health therapist Mara Burmeister, and their respective clinics for approving her for a double mastectomy after two visits. Both visits happened over Zoom, one in May and one in June, before her surgery occurred in August 2020. Now Kiefel is seeking $850,000 in damages from Ruff, Burmeister, the Brave Space Oregon, and the Quest Center for Integrative Health.
Kiefel’s complaint alleges these defendants gave her “unnecessary, irreversible treatment” without considering her other mental health problems, which she reported include anxiety disorder, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In addition, she reported post-surgery complications, including troubles with swallowing, a faulty nausea treatment that resulted in scopolamine poisoning due to a patch on the back of her ear, and pupil dilation that lasted for months.
“My dad told me about how men talked about girls, because he wanted to protect me and to get me to dress more conservatively,” Kiefel said in an interview. “But it made my anxiety worse. All that really screwed me up. I remember I was even afraid to be alone.”
Prior to her surgery, Kiefel minored in gender studies at Portland State University, and she eventually identified as nonbinary. She learned about top surgery when she happened upon the website of the Gender Confirmation Center.
Now Kiefel has returned to identifying as a woman as her suit waits in Oregon State Courts to proceed.