Noah O’Brien took his own life after being denied gender affirming care at Westmead Kids’ Hospital

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My 14-year-old transgender son took his own life after telling us he no longer wanted to be a girl. This is Noah’s story

  • Noah O’Brien, 14, died in January after revealing his new gender identity
  • He was denied access to gender-affirming care at Westmead Children’s Hospital  
  • For confidential support call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on: 13 11 14 
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)

A heartbroken mother has spoken out about how her 14-year-old transgender son took his own life after being denied gender-affirming care. 

Noah O’Brien, who was born as a girl called Lily, died in January this year. The 14-year-old had written his parents a letter six months before telling them he identified as a boy.

Noah’s mum Lauren told the ABC’s Four Corners of the devastating loss of her son after he was worried about returning to school in his new gender identity following the holidays.

‘My husband gave him CPR and the ambulance, and the police arrived about four minutes after we called them and they took him to Westmead Hospital, where he stayed alive until six in the morning,’ she said.

That was from about 11 o’clock. So, we got seven hours to actually say goodbye.’

Ms O’Brien said when Noah first told her about his new gender identity she thought he was being influenced by a friend or someone online.

‘But the longer that time went on, we just saw, no, it was definitely just him, who he was,’ she told the program. 

Noah started to restrict his eating in a bid to delay the onset of puberty.

He was admitted to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney’s west where he was discharged after a day, with a recommendation to seek support for gender issues.

Ms O’Brien went to his GP to get a referral but did not realise that he would be pushed down the waiting list because he had started puberty. 

Noah O'Brien (pictured), 14, died in January this year. He had written his parents a letter six months before telling them he identified as a boy but was worried about returning to school after the holidays

Noah O’Brien (pictured), 14, died in January this year. He had written his parents a letter six months before telling them he identified as a boy but was worried about returning to school after the holidays 

His mother, Lauren (pictured), said he was not given access to any gender-affirming care

His mother, Lauren (pictured), said he was not given access to any gender-affirming care

Noah’s grandmother Rose Marsh told the program: ‘Lauren rang places, went to the doctors, tried everywhere to get help, but it was just like doors were closing in her face. Nobody was responding to her call for help.’

Noah was again treated for anorexia at Westmead Children’s Hospital and was assessed by a social worker who suggested he needed to be seen by staff who could help with his gender dysphoria.

But that was halted by a senior staff member outside the gender clinic who said clinicians needed to focus on dealing with his anorexia in isolation.

Four Corners reported that Noah ‘was effectively denied any specialist gender support by the hospital’.

Noah was increasingly anxious about returning to school in his new gender and took his life in January.

Westmead children's hospital's management declined to speak to Four Corners, issuing a statement expressing their 'sincere condolences to Noah's family'

Westmead children’s hospital’s management declined to speak to Four Corners, issuing a statement expressing their ‘sincere condolences to Noah’s family’

‘I feel like he didn’t get any help or support in making that transition to become a male,’ his grandmother said.

‘We did all we could, Lauren did more than anyone ever could, but we just didn’t get any help from anywhere that could help us.’

The management at Westmead Children’s Hospital declined to speak to Four Corners, issuing a statement expressing their ‘sincere condolences to Noah’s family’.

‘Due to patient privacy and confidentiality, [Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network] is unable to provide further information about his specific care,’ they added. 

NSW Deputy Premier Prue Car said Noah’s case was ‘unbelievably tragic’.

‘No one should feel like they’re in that position,’ the acting premier told reporters on Monday.

‘We obviously need to make sure that what is quite a vulnerable cohort of young people, in particular, is protected and supported,’ she added. 

For confidential support call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on: 13 11 14 

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)

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