Brazilian Trans Woman Denied Operation at Risk

Kauana Vitória da Silva
Kauana Vitória da Silva
Kauana Vitória da Silva

On Wednesday, nurse technician student Kauana Vitória da Silva, 22, was admitted to the State Hospital Adão Pereira Nunes, in Caxias, in the Baixada Fluminense area of Brazil. She felt fever and pain caused by complications of a breast silicone prosthesis, emplaced two years ago. Trans woman Kauana Vitória da Silva was diagnosed with mastitis, infection in the breast and claims to have been embarrassed by doctors and staff, who called her “he” and refused to use her authentic name. On her wrist, the patient record is a reminder the of the identity that is no longer hers: Genivaldo Junior da Silva, the birth name. Four days later, the medical promise of removing the prosthesis to treat the infection was not met: Kauana was discharged without surgery.

“They treated me like an animal. In fact, no animal is treated like this. I returned home with a fever and in a lot of pain in my chest'” Kauana recalling the embarrassment. “Whenever they called me Genivaldo people looked at me and I had to explain.”

For two nights, Kauana fasted 12 hours to go into surgery, always canceled by doctors. Kauana was taken to the waiting room in the surgical clinic, where there were only men – it was the last straw to seek the hospital’s welfare, who transferred her to a women’s room.

“Why was I discharged allegedly for not needing surgery if in the first day they put me in the surgical clinic and told me to prepare for the operation?”  Kauana questions. ” I just want the prosthesis removed.”

Her husband, Lucas Souza dos Santos, 19, accompanied her during the four days of hospitalization. Concerned about the health of the woman, he also complains about the treatment in the unit and says the couple can not afford to pay for the removal of the prosthesis out of a public hospital.

“We asked to call her only by her social name, they replied it was not possible. What could be the cost for them to put, at least, her social name in brackets? She did not need to be humiliated every time they called to give her the remedies!” Exclaims Lucas, who lives with Kauana in Saracuruna, in the Caxias neighborhood. “I just do not want to lose my wife. They said she could not be treated at the public hospital, but we are not able to afford this operation elsewhere.”

Doctors at the hospital said Kauana should deal with the surgeon who implanted the prosthesis. However, the clinic, which is in Tijuca, in the north zone of Rio, belonging to José Vieira Junior, who’s responsible for the surgery, has closed. The plastic surgeon responds to court cases and has operated women who developed serious complications in the breasts – and at least one of them died. Questioned by EXTRA, Vieira Junior said he still makes consultations, but by appointment only.

In cases of infections such as Kauana, the prosthesis must be removed as quickly as possible, otherwise, the patient risks death.” Explains plastic surgeon José de Gervais:

It may cause septicemia, a generalized infection in the organs that can lead to death. It has to be removed quickly because this infection is already consuming the body and making her more fragile.

The director of the Booby Group of the sexual diversity group Grupo Atobá, Carlos Alberto Migon, repudiated the doctor’s attitude:

“The hospital should be prepared to receive their patients and needs to accept their social name. Her health is now a priority, but when she gets better it is necessary to report since her citizenship was not recognized.

The hospital administration reported that Kauana “underwent intravenous treatment with antibiotics to fight an infection and was discharged after the test results indicate no signs of inflammation, normal blood pressure, and no fever.” The administration further reported that the records contained the social and legal name of the patient and that its staff did not indicate the need for an emergency surgery. “In these cases, the patient is treated for infection and driven to seek the doctor who put the prosthesis to evaluate the implant, which was explained to Mrs. Kauana Vitória”, the statement said.

To report cases of homophobia or Transphobia:


In Rio, the dial LGBT citizenship (0800 0234567) is temporarily unavailable. Emergencies – such as violence and discrimination – can be reported by calling the Superintendência de Direitos Individuais Coletivos e Difusos (Superintendent of Individual Rights and Collective Diffuse): 21 2334-9561. You can also report by Disque Direitos Humanos (Human Rights Dial): dial 100.


Rio Without Homophobia offers legal and psychological care and social assistance. The forecast is that these services will be available again this week.

Police Stations

As delegacias têm de estar preparadas para atender vítimas de homofobia. No Rio, o registro de ocorrência já tem o campo “homofobia” como motivação do crime.

Stations must be prepared to receive homophobia victims. In Rio, the records already have “homophobia” as motivation for the crime.

The denial of the existence of transphobia is usual in Brazil, even from most of the LGBT groups, who prefer to label all crimes as homophobic rather than transphobic, thus denying the very existence of transgender people. No wonder that most (if not all) media call transgender women as homosexuals or gay.

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Trans woman, activist, writer and translator from Portugal (that's in Europe)


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