". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


DOJ Indicts Whistleblower Who Exposed Texas Children’s Hospital’s Secret Gender Transitioning of Minors

June 11, 2024

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted a medical whistleblower for exposing the secret, illegal gender transition procedures for minors provided at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH). TCH had publicly halted its gender transition program after the procedures became illegal in Texas, but Dr. Eithan Haim, then finishing his surgical residency there, discovered the hospital was continuing the procedures and deliberately hiding the records. Haim felt morally obligated to expose this illegal duplicity, and he did so, anonymously at first.

Because of the immense public value in having government or business insiders expose illegal behavior, the elected representatives of the American people have passed laws to encourage such whistleblowers by protecting them from retaliation for their actions. The very fact that the DOJ brought this indictment against Haim shows that, like the dark side of the force, “ideology clouds everything,” Heritage Foundation Vice President of Domestic Policy Roger Severino declared on “Washington Watch.”

Thus far, the DOJ has not disclosed “the full nature of the charges … to Doctor Heim,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, but they seem to be related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Legal proceedings are still early in the process — the first court hearing was on Monday — and Haim may learn the nature of the charges soon. Still, federal agents notified Haim that he was the target of a criminal investigation on June 23, 2023.

The cloud of this investigation has hung over Haim and his family (his wife, a federal prosecutor herself, is expecting their first child this fall) for nearly a year without Haim knowing what crime, exactly, he is supposed to have committed.

“According to many familiar with the case, the documents disclosed did not contain identifiable patient information,” which “would not be in violation of HIPAA,” Perkins stated. “If it is de-identified information, it is not covered information,” confirmed Severino, who served in the Trump administration as the director of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, where he enforced HIPAA for four years. “You can cooperate with law enforcement under HIPAA, and especially if there’s no PII, personally identifiable information.” In other words, what Haim did was not a violation of HIPAA.

Even if Haim had violated HIPAA, “using a criminal penalty to go after a whistleblower is absolutely unheard of,” said Severino. “This is outrageous. We had never issued any sort of recommendation for prosecution for HIPAA violations. … The criminal punishment is the essentially a death sentence for doctors for a HIPAA violation.”

Standard HIPAA enforcement is done through “civil penalties, where you actually pay money for violations,” explained Severino. During his time in government, he dealt with major violations such as large-scale hacks, “where the entities were irresponsible, and millions of personal identifiable records were put out there. We didn’t threaten to put these folks in jail for that. People were really hurt. They were harmed. But we weren’t going to throw them in jail for it.”

“But now, the Biden administration is trying to go after somebody protecting children with jail time,” Severino exclaimed. “They’re trying to break this man. It’s very expensive when the process is the penalty. He now has to defend himself, his good name, his reputation as a doctor. He now has a GiveSendGo campaign.” Haim made the difficult decision to go public after his legal fees consumed “the entirety of our retirement, investments, savings, and almost all of our disposable income.” His GiveSendGo campaign has raised over $500,000 towards his legal defense, with a goal of $1 million.

“This is the weaponization of the federal government, to have the DOJ, the inspector general’s office, knock on your door and say, ‘Hey, what have you been doing to protect kids?’ and, ‘We’re going to go after you for doing this,’” said Severino. “It just shows that there is an ideological bent to this administration that stops at nothing to get its political way, and people that it deems to be political enemies are going to be persecuted.” Perkins agreed. “This is more about a scare tactic, intimidation, silencing those who would challenge the ideological agenda of this administration and the Left,” than it is about justly enforcing the law.

The Biden administration seems to be politicizing law enforcement by inventing administrative carve-outs to federal laws, in order to undermine state laws they don’t like, according to Severino. “Earlier,” he explained, “the Biden administration said that you cannot cooperate with law enforcement without violating HIPAA when it comes to abortion.” So, “if you have information about illegal abortions in Texas or elsewhere, you may also be criminally liable if you are cooperating with law enforcement, even in cases where they have a valid subpoena and a warrant.”

“This puts doctors in an untenable situation, because, if you’re in a state, and you get a warrant, a subpoena for this information, you can be held in contempt for not complying with that warrant,” Perkins responded. “But yet, on the other hand, you’ve got the Biden administration coming after you.” Severino agreed, saying, “Either they comply with a state warrant that says, ‘You must give us information about these abortionists that are handing out these pills, or you risk prosecution from the Biden administration for cooperating with state law enforcement.’”

The Biden administration seems to be pursuing a similar tactic regarding gender transition procedures for minors. “This is all about ideology, whether it’s about abortion or transgender sex change operations, so-called, on minors,” Severino declared. “It’s not about the science. It’s not about the law. It’s about pushing this ideology. And, if you get in the way, they are threatening jail time for you.”

“There is no end to the weaponization of the justice system,” Severino lamented. “They are going after President Trump at the highest levels. They’re going after good faith doctors that are blowing the whistles at lower levels. That means every single person that is against the Biden ideological agenda is at risk of some sort of prosecution.”

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.