Disclaimer: The patient’s name has been withheld for her privacy.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ascension Seton, the hospital network that runs Dell Children’s Adolescent Health clinic, announced last week that all of the clinic’s doctors “departed,” amidst an investigation by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton into whether “gender transitioning care” was provided there.

The shutdown of service at the clinic has impacted the healthcare of adolescents (10 to 19-year-olds), including R, a 19-year-old woman who received treatment for an eating disorder at the clinic.

“The quality of care was absolutely phenomenal. I couldn’t ask for a better provider,” R said, “They were just always on top of everything, they ensured that I was taken care of, and my health was always top priority, and I would recommend it to anyone.”

She learned from local news reports that her medical providers with the clinic were no longer employed there. The clinic reached out to her a few days later but did not provide much information.

“I just was overwhelmed with the feelings, worried that I wouldn’t have my specialist anymore,” R said, “I need to still find an eating disorder specialist, but I still am upset with losing my old specialist.”

That search has been difficult for R., who said that eating disorder specialists are not common in Austin. She is currently looking into options in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.

R describes the crisis as a “snowball effect,” which started with an “undercover situation.”

“It’s been a snowball effect, with patients losing their providers and now having to go to other providers, and now those providers are having a lot of people come to them,” R said. “I still am just upset with the whole situation, and how it just came about. Because patients and providers got no warning about this whole entire situation.”

“I think that anyone who is keeping up on the news with all of this needs to be aware that Austin lost a lot of great doctors at that clinic,” R concluded.

Continued silence from Seton

Ascension Seton, a Catholic-affiliated hospital network, responded Wednesday to KXAN’s follow questions from Saturday, only to say that it could not provide anything further than its Saturday statement.

That statement is below:

Dell Children’s Medical Group Adolescent Medicine clinic has not closed. We are working with our staff, families, and other providers to ensure our patients’ safety and make sure we are helping families connect with the appropriate healthcare services. While the physicians who previously staffed the clinic will be departing, the clinic remains open and supported by other physicians within Dell Children’s Medical Group. We continue to be advocates for the best possible care and treatment for children in Central Texas.


The hospital network also would not provide KXAN with the number of doctors employed by the clinic, nor was this information available on the network’s website.

According to Ascension’s “Find a Doctor” tool, there are no adolescent medicine doctors within 50 miles of Austin:

A screengrab from healthcare.ascension.org on May 17, 2023.

The clinic’s website is still online, and lists the conditions (previously) treated by its providers:

  • Acne
  • Amenorrhea (missing period)
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Blood in urine
  • Bone health 
  • Breast conditions
  • Eating disorders, including bulimia and anorexia
  • Family concerns
  • Female athlete triad
  • Gynecologic conditions
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency (early menopause)
  • Puberty and growth concerns
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Vaginitis (inflammation in the vagina)

It also describes its “comprehensive care for eating disorders” as a multidisciplinary team of adolescent medicine doctors, dietitians, psychologists and social workers.

“We start by listening to understand your child and your concerns,” the website reads, “Your child’s care plan may include a combination of therapy with a mental health specialist, medication (for anxiety or depression), nutrition support and education.”

Project Veritas claims responsibility

The “undercover situation” that R mentioned may refer to a video released by the right-wing activist group Project Veritas. In it, there are clips of a licensed clinical social worker at Dell Children’s Medical Center providing information about transition-related healthcare for minors to a disguised Project Veritas operative.

A Project Veritas representative reached out to KXAN on May 5, asking to be credited as inciting Paxton’s investigation of Dell Children’s Medical Center.

KXAN asked the Attorney General’s Office for confirmation of a connection multiple times with no response. Paxton did retweet Twitter posts made by Project Veritas on May 5 celebrating his investigation as a result of the group’s work.

Ascension Seton said in an April 28 statement that it prohibits surgery and hormone therapy for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors.

“We are conducting a thorough review of this situation,” the statement reads, “To the extent that care provided at our clinic may have been inconsistent with our organization’s position on this important issue, we intend to take appropriate action.”

Speculation about if and how these elements connect will persist until authorities provide confirmations, but the departure of clinic providers has consequences for the health of Austin’s adolescents.