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

Commentary

Second Whistleblower at Texas Children’s Hospital Faces Federal Retaliation

July 5, 2024

Ronald Reagan was wrong. “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help” are not the nine most terrifying words in the English language. That dubious distinction goes to these nine words: “We’re from the FBI. We know what you believe.” These words cast a pallor over a previously cheery day. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, for one primary reason: threatening progressive orthodoxy on abortion and trans ideology. Or so they want you to think.

The feds knocked on Eithan Haim’s door on the day of his graduation from medical school. They knocked on Vanessa Sivadge’s door while she and her husband were hosting friends for dinner. Haim and Sivadge don’t know each other, but they did both witness illegal activity at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH), which was secretly providing gender transition procedures to minors in violation of state law.

“I go to the front door, and I hear them saying my name and [see them] pulling out their badges … and it was terrifying,” Sivadge related to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch” last Thursday. “They said they were there because they knew what I believed. They knew about my views against transgender medicine.”

“I just believe in Genesis 1,” Sivadge told The Washington Stand in a recent interview. “That God made them male and female, that God’s design for our gender is beautiful and good and right, and that we have a responsibility to affirm what God has made that’s good.” This belief is not abstract for Sivadge, but it bestows dignity on each person she meets, both male and female. “The sexes are complementary and distinct,” she said. “And that’s down to the chromosome. God doesn’t make mistakes when he made us in our mother’s womb.”

The FBI agents told Sivadge that her beliefs made her a person of interest in an investigation regarding the public release of confidential patient information. “Of course, they were referencing Dr. Haim, but I had no idea who he was,” Sivadge explained. “I responded at one point, and I said, ‘You must be referring to the whistleblower.’” This was shortly after independent journalist Christopher Rufo published an article in City Journal about TCH’s illegal practices, in which Haim featured as anonymous whistleblower.

The plainclothes agents “aggressively corrected me immediately, ‘No, that’s a leaker. He’s leaked classified patient information to the public,’” Sivadge recalled. “I knew that, first of all, they were lying because in that article with Christopher Rufo, all patient information had been redacted and blacked out.”

Then the agents went a step further. “They proceeded to just say that if I didn’t help them, that they couldn’t protect me. They threatened me and said I wasn’t safe at my job,” Sivadge described. “They said someone at my job, at my work, had given them my name, and that I wasn’t safe.” Unsafe from what, exactly? Let’s just say that unknown threats can be all the more intimidating. “They left it very vague. I think on purpose it was intentionally vague, very veiled threats,” Sivadge said, unless she helped the FBI to expose the whistleblower’s identity — which she didn’t know at the time.

Whoever pointed the FBI in Sivadge’s direction may have read the piece she authored in The Washington Stand in August 2022, “What Happened to ‘Do No Harm’? A Nurse’s Firsthand Look at the Transgender Craze.” Such an article would give the FBI rather reliable information about what Sivadge believed. “I really pondered whether or not to use my name with that piece, and I decided at the end to do that. I knew that that would carry some risk,” said Sivadge.

Yet Sivadge was encouraged to stand by her training through the Family Research Council internship program. “It is an experience that will mark me forever,” she said. “FRC gave me a spiritual backbone and prepared me to stand up regardless of what comes.”

Sivadge never intended to become a whistleblower; she just wanted to do her job as a registered nurse in the TCH pediatric multispecialty clinic. However, she “quickly saw that the number of transgender patients was increasing” and was eventually “asked to do things that were against my beliefs and against my faith.” On one occasion, she was asked to teach a healthy, teenage boy how to give himself an injection. “After thinking about it later, it dawned on me that he was going to go home and give himself estrogen,” she said, “and that was really devastating to me. That went against everything I believed about God’s design for our gender and our sexuality.”

“I’m passionate about upholding God’s design for male and female,” said Sivadge. “That’s something that has been turned upside down in our culture, and it’s so twisted.” She cited Isaiah 5:20, where the prophet proclaims, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

“Unfortunately, the hospital [TCH] has a track record of lying to the public,” she continued, “and this was no exception. They were keeping secret a transgender medicine program from the public, from lawmakers in Texas. And they just thought that no one would bring it to light and come forward to expose that.”

In Ephesians 5:11, Paul exhorts the church, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” That “has been my theme verse throughout this whole process,” Sivadge explained. “We as Christians have a responsibility to bring to light what has been done in secret. And I take that very literally.”

In particular, Sivadge noticed 1) that TCH “is illegally using Medicaid to cover transgender surgeries and hormones, and 2) that TCH is “misdiagnosing patients for the purpose of justifying puberty blockers,” such as diagnosing “a healthy teenage boy, let’s say, with estrogen deficiency.”

The FBI eventually discovered Haim’s identity from other sources, and earlier this month the DOJ indicted him for HIPAA violations that could land him in prison for 10 years — not to mention ruining his career. Yet no evidence has been presented to show how, exactly, Haim allegedly violated HIPAA.

“I almost quit on a number of occasions until I read Christopher Rufo’s article,” said Sivadge. “I knew that everything that Christopher Rufo had reported on was true because I was seeing it in my clinic. And I came forward to affirm the testimony of that whistleblower.”

For Sivadge, the FBI’s home visit was “the catalyst for going public” as a second whistleblower. “In the moment, I was just so terrified. And then the anger sets in, and you’re like, how is this happening — in Texas?” she said. “Before, the FBI had at least an external reputation of prosecuting crime and exposing corruption and fighting terrorists. And I think that things have really shifted and changed for the worse.”

Perkins declared that Sivadge was “very courageous” for her decision “to step forward and expose what is a very destructive … demonic agenda targeting our children. … It comes at a price, but that price is worth paying because it’s the right thing to do.”

For Sivadge, the total bill has yet to be calculated, as the threat of legal retaliation still looms darkly over her shoulder. “I would not be surprised if I did get another visit” from FBI agents, she said. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen more and more examples of people of faith that experience the overreach of the federal government just for acting in accordance with what they believe.”

To prepare for this possibility, Sivadge has hired a lawyer. Defending oneself from politicized persecution is expensive, as Haim’s case has already demonstrated, and the very cost is part of the intimidation campaign. Sivadge has a fundraiser on GiveSendGo where likeminded Americans can contribute to her legal defense.

“God doesn’t need us to accomplish his purposes. He chooses to use us to accomplish his purposes because he’s a good Father — with broken people like me,” said Sivadge. “My prayer at the end of this is that God will get the glory and that children’s lives will be saved and [we will see] the end of gender care in America. And if I can be an extremely small tool in that, it’s worth it.” She hoped her example would “inspire and maybe empower nurses to come forward and not be afraid of the repercussions or the consequences because children’s lives are at stake.”

God doesn’t need us to accomplish his purposes, but there is joy and reward in obedience to him. When Haman plotted to kill the Jews, Mordecai offered his cousin Esther this advice, “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). If Christian nurses and doctors keep silent while the hospitals they work in harm children with illegal gender transition procedures, they will have to answer for that to God.

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.