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'People are people': Healthcare professional advocates, educates others about trans patients

Dr. Eli Pendleton, at Baptist Health Medical Group, has created a niche for specialized care of trans patients.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Dr. Eli Pendleton, at Baptist Health Medical Group, takes care of hundreds of patients each year -- with him creating a niche for specialized care of trans patients.

"What we try to do is we just try to meet people where they are, people are," he said. 

Pendleton accepts patients in whatever state they may be in when they come to his office.

"People are people, right?" he said. "We have far more similarities than we have differences.”

As a child, Pendleton lived in rural Kentucky but later moved to Oregon because his dad was a doctor. Following in his father's footsteps, he also became a physician. Pendleton attended the University of Kentucky Medical School where he met his wife and later working at the University of Louisville.

He says he serves the whole community, because everyone deserves care. 

“I saw a wide variety of patients and was always interested in seeing patients who weren't served otherwise," Pendleton said. "I saw my first trans patient about 2015-ish, I think, and then that took off."


He understands how to assist trans patients because one of his family members is trans. He said this gives him an understanding not only in the medical realm, but how a family adjusts to the changes in their dynamic.

"I have a brother who's trans. He had progressively been shopping out of my closet more and more, and then came out as trans. And now I have two brothers and a sister instead of a brother and two sisters,” Pendleton said. 

He continues to learn, which helps translate into patient care.

"For parents and families it can be challenging to have the identity of a loved one change, because you then have a hard time," he said. "There's a lot of internal conflict, trying to figure out how you're going to think about that person."

When you approach the door of his office, you will see a message that welcomes all people to his practice. To date, Pendleton has cared for more than 400 trans patients and helps educate other doctors on how to properly treat them. He even helped get the medical forms changed to add the pronouns for patients.

“I think that it has helped a lot with my trans patients, because it simply just creates that environment where they feel heard, they feel seen," he said. "It signals to my patients that 'we see you, we hear you, we're here for you, we're not afraid of letting everybody else know.'"

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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