Clinical encounters with intersex children at the Kinderspital Zürich in the 1950ies and 1960ies – ethical derivative out of historical findings
Based on patients‘ files archived at the Kispi the study will provide an overview of the clinical practice in the treatment and care provided for intersexual children in Zurich during the 1950s and 60s mainly. Selected samples will be used to exemplify the scope of treatment and support options available to paediatricians, parents and patients. The study will present an in-depth analysis of the parameters for the decisions made, who was involved in these decisions and by which factors they were influenced. It will identify the network of participants/deciders and their clinical technologies/diagnostic tools, which led to specific recommendations.
The objective is to use individual cases to show, just how varied or limited the scope of intervention, treatment and support was at the time: in general a team of medical experts was responsible for (surgical) treatment, aftercare and for providing family in order to help the patient settle into `normal life´. However, documents also show the very limited extent to which young or infant patients were included in decision-making. Contemporary medical practice was also strongly based on concealment of diagnoses, and on withholding medical knowledge. A closer look at the discrepancy between established medical doctrine and individual clinical practice may result in suggestions and opportunities for the future treatment and support of intersexual children and their families.