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BBC1 'Casualty' Episode: 6 May 2006

Two correspondents emailed to tell us what happened in the above UK hospital drama episode:

1) Many thanks to the UK group member who sent this account:

I checked option replay in my TV and it turned out that the "Casualty" from the 6th of May was the one!!!

It shows a 16 year old teenager named Emma struggling with her personal life. She is bullied at school by other teenagers about her breast size and gossip of not successful sex life. She is taking overdose of antidepressants she stole from her mother and has accident on school trip. After her parents arrive to hospital it is clear they are keeping some secret away from the girl.

One of the doctors speaks to her mom about the situation and discovers that the girl has PAIS. Parents decide to tell their daughter the truth... Mother is trying to explain the story to Emma by reminding her that the hernia operation wasn't really a hernia operation and when doctors opened her "they saw what boy would have, not what girl would have".

The girl is shocked and starts crying ("Are you telling me I am a boy?"). The mother shows further lack of sensitivity when girl asked her, regarding her sex life, "Is that the reason it hurts when I try to do it?", by saying " It's coz you can't do it! "

Fortunately a doctor called Maggie is truly amazing and explains the condition to the girl. She gives her few web addresses where the girl can find information about condition and HRT. She explains that it is very likely normal sex life is possible but some of individuals need surgery.

There is a little bit more emotional struggle of the girl calling herself a freak... she think her mother never loved her because she was different...

General impression - very informative despite the [fact that the girls'] genetic make up was not commented at anytime. We should wish all doctors would be able to handle the situation as shown in this programme.


1) We had asked the guy in Belgium, who had alerted us to the 'Casualty' episode, exactly when it was transmitted (and also asked him about his "research") and he took the trouble to write again as follows:

Hi again,

The episode I spoke of has been screened on Saturday (May 6th) at 8:20 PM your time. I think they don't have a repeat of Casualty; I couldn't find it anyway.

The story was about a 16 year old female (only daughter) who hadn't been told about her condition by her parents. Through years of whispering talks between her parents and a kind of cold shoulder treatment from her mother, she was now self harming, was bullied for her lack of female breast. She had recently, for the first time, tried to have sex (like her peers) but found it very painful ... (nothing shown, she told about this later in A&E). She had just taken a high dose of anti-depressants (taken from her depressive, guilty feeling mother) which alerted the Medical staff at A&E (Casualty) that there were other issues !

While in Casualty with a fractured leg and other problems from a fall (~6 meters height), X-rays were taken. After that, it had all to come out, in the end. It was painful to see (even) the distress (good acting to my eyes) of that young woman when she had to find out the truth, even the fact that she wouldn't be able to bare children ! To be told that an operation on a hernia, at a very young age, had been in fact much more; testes had been discovered internally and the whole truth about her condition.

The parents had discussed the situation and concluded to tell the child when she was 12. That age had passed and still they hadn't had the courage to tell her. Now they had to; it helped that Abs (male psychology nurse) and the knowledgeable and caring female doctor Maggie were at hand to help. They explained her condition and what help and support was available to her.

It was but a part of the whole episode, but it was very educational. I don't know if it was close to reality, but knowing the kind of medical support they have in the production of Casualty (as well as Holby City Hospital), I think it was.

I'd like to hear the opinions of members of your support group.

I find it very odd that there's nothing mentioned about it on their webpages: http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/casualty/, when they've taken the step to integrate it in this episode ... Even in their so-called catch-up (here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/casualty/storyupdates/) there's nothing mentioned !

About the research; that was just initiated by this episode. It was personal, non-professional. I heard PAIS mentioned a few times; I had never heard of it before. I watch a lot of Science and Medical programs (mostly BBC1 and 2) and I didn't know the term PAIS. While searching on the Web, I found first this; http://www.medhelp.org/www/ais. After reading up on PAIS and AIS, I found this; http://www.geneclinics.org/profiles/androgen/details.html. Because you are the UK support group, I then contacted you with my question and comment.

I hope you can get still more help to bring this to the attention of more people, so they would understand !

Kind regards,

I think it's superfluous to say "keep up the good work".