Lawrence Gottlieb, MD
Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine
Dr. Lawrence Gottlieb is an internationally known reconstructive plastic surgeon. He has clinical and research interests in reconstructive microsurgery, and the care of patients with burn injuries, difficult wounds, or complex reconstructive needs. Dr. Gottlieb works on many multidisciplinary teams to provide comprehensive, state-of-art treatment for a wide variety of adult and pediatric patients.
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I went to see Dr. Gottlieb for a phalloplasty consult. My experience from the very start was horrible.
The receptionist that gave me my paperwork put my gender in wrong. I wasn't asked for my gender but she had my ID, which it was correct on, and yet I still had a sticker on my paperwork that was inconsistent with my gender. I'm not sure if they are legally obligated to put the gender listed on your ID but even if that had been the case, it was incorrect.
When the nurse that did my vitals asked if I was on any medications and I responded no, she insisted I was on testosterone, which she had no reason for since she had no history suggesting I am or was ever on it. I had to restate that I was not on any medications currently because I can no longer take testosterone for medical reasons. The entire exchange felt very rude and judgmental to me. It seemed like she made the assumption I had to be on it since I was listed as a female to male transgender person, which is unfair to anyone who can't be on it or feels like it isn't right for them.
I was hopeful regardless, understanding it was a bigger office with multiple doctors and these interactions didn't reflect Dr. Gottlieb himself. I waited an hour and half past my appointment time to meet with him, who, when he finally walked in, asked me what my story was. I struggled to understand what things he actually wanted me to tell him about since he provided no context and when I asked, he pretty much just repeated himself. He seemed shocked (and possibly bothered) I had only been able to identify as trans for the past five years, making it seem like he didn't think I could possibly be certain about my decision. It's not so much that I didn't know what I wanted/needed in regards to my gender but that I wasn't able to be educated on the matter until that time.
He told me I was too unstable to start the process and clearly not sure I wanted a phalloplasty because I am currently finishing up an outpatient program for social anxiety, even though it is much the opposite. The fact that I am finishing up an extremely helpful outpatient program (which the issue I went into for has no bearing on my decision making regarding my physical transition) has made me the healthiest I have been in my life and ready to tackle serious decisions I've put on the backburner, like moving forward in this way. He also didn't like that I don't regularly see a Psychologist, but instead a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I've been through many therapists so I was never worried about their official title as long as they did psych work, I was comfortable with them, and they helped me. I I think that should be the important part so that he dismissed that was troublesome.
He seemed to lack compassion and knowledge in common things transgender people experience, not to mention he was uninterested and dismissive about it all. The only thing he did well was explain the process to me, although that was brief and I would have wanted him to go more in depth if I hadn't already known I wouldn't be following up with him.