B.C. college tightens its circumcision recommendations
(The Medical Post is a tabloid distributed free of charge to Canadian MDs.), By Lynn Haley, July 6th, 2004
VANCOUVER - Opponents of circumcision are applauding a new policy statement issued by the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Peter Seland, deputy registrar (ethics) of the college, said the new statement is intended to help physicians navigate this minefield.
The statement advises that circumcision may be carried out only when it is in the best interests of the child. It also says the procedure has no medical or prophylactic values and that doctors must advise parents of the associated risks including urinary tract infection, urinary retention, meatal stenosis and hemorrhage (as was seen in a recent B.C. case that resulted in the death of a one-month-old).
Doctors are under no obligation to circumcise the child at the request of parents, the statement says.
"There is a never-ending stream of concerns that we get at the college around this issue," said Dr. Seland. "There is nothing in terms of the intensity of the debate that separates this from abortion. People have very strong views about this issue.
"But when you cut through it all and examine it, it appears there is still a small portion of our society that might have been making the decision without being fully informed as to its implications, making decisions on such flimsy grounds as 'We want him to be like daddy.' So we really wanted a tool for physicians to look at, and think about where we're at, not just from a medical point of view."
The trump of course, Dr. Seland said, is the cultural and religious aspects of circumcision unlike female genital mutilation which, Dr. Seland says, is off-the-wall.
"Since male circumcision is neutral medically, you can't really say that medical indications trump religious preferences," he noted. "The flames were fanned when that baby died in Penticton. It spurred us on to come out with this guideline."
Such a procedure at birth could conceivably have a traumatic effect in later years, said Dr. Seland. "There is (also) the issue that a decision has been made by the parents to do this on weak grounds, and the result is the adult male is denied erogenous pleasure, though I don't know whether anybody will ever know that for certain," he said.
Dennis Harrison, a spokesman for the Canadian group Association for Genital Integrity, welcomes the changes in policy from the college. He says the focus on bioethics and human rights will help provide physicians with the tools they need to guide parents around the complex issues surrounding the procedure.
"This is very difficult for many parents, because there is often the conflict between the parents' rights and the child's right," said Harrison. "But in a country like Canada, the vast majority of circumcisions are not done for religious reasons. . . . It's true that parents are responsible for making decisions on behalf of their children, but there is no surgical operation a parent can consent to without medical need, and circumcision is not medically necessary. We applaud the college's guidelines, but we think they could have gone further."
The college's statement can be viewed at http://www.cpsbc.ca/
Pediatricians turn away from circumcision
The United States is the only country that routinely circumcises baby boys for non-religious reasons
March 1, 1999
ATLANTA (CNN) -- American pediatricians are turning away from the practice of routine circumcision, concluding that doctors have no good medical reason to perform the procedure.
The United States is the only country in the world that routinely removes the foreskins of infant boys. Critics of circumcision got additional ammunition Monday from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a leading medical organization.
The academy concluded the benefits "are not compelling enough" for circumcision to be routinely administered.
A newborn winces in pain after a circumcision
Monday's statement, published in the March edition of the journal Pediatrics, was the academy's first in 10 years on the practice. But in recent years, medical societies in Canada, Britain and Australia have come out in opposition to routine circumcision.
Critics have long contended that removing the foreskin from the penis is traumatic, medically unnecessary and may reduce sexual pleasure later in life. As one critic, Dr. George Denniston, put it: "Who are we to question mother nature?"
Canadian researchers, whose study was published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, studied the heart rates and crying patterns of babies during different stages of circumcision.
In fact, in the study they found the babies suffered so much trauma that they stopped the study part way through.
The results were so compelling that they took the unusual step of stopping the study before it was scheduled to end rather than subjecting any Read More ..bies to circumcision.
One baby stopped breathing for 25 seconds from the trauma of having part of his foreskin severed. Read More ..
Male Circumcision, the unkindest cut
By Dr. Gifford Jones
Special to C-Health
Baby Dies of Herpes in Ritual Circumcision By Orthodox Jews
ABC News, U.S.A., by Susan Donaldson James, March 12, 2012
New York City is investigating the death last September of a baby who contracted herpes after a "ritual circumcision with oral suction," in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish ceremony known in Hebrew as metzitzah b'peh.
The district attorney's office in Kings County Brooklyn is investigating the death of the 2-week-old baby at Maimonides Hospital, but would not disclose the name of the mohel or whether there would be a prosecution.
The 5,000-year-old religious practice is seen primarily in ultra-Orthodox and some orthodox communities and has caused an alarm among city health officials. In 2003 and 2004, three babies, including a set of twins, were infected with Type 1 herpes; the cases were linked to circumcision, and one boy died.
The mohel who performed the procedures, Yitzchok Fischer, was later banned from doing circumcisions, according to The New York Times. It is not known if he was involved in this recent death.
"It's certainly not something any of us recommend in the modern infection-control era," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University.
"This is a ritual of historic Abraham that's come down through the ages, and now it has met modern science," he said. "It was never a good idea, and there is a better way to do this." (The modern Jewish community uses a sterile aspiration device to clean the wound in a circumcision.)
In the 2004 death and the more recent one, a mohel infected the penile wounds with Type 1 herpes I (HSV-1), which affects the mouth and throat. It is different from Type 2 or genital herpes (HSV-2), which is a sexually transmitted disease and can cause deadly infections when a newborn passes through an infected birth canal.
Neonatal herpes is "almost always" a fatal infection, according to Schaffner. "It's a bad virus. [Infants] have no immunity and so it's a very serious illness. Now we have another death -- an unnecessary, incredibly tragic death."
Circumcision Botched by Jewish Father Results in Conviction for Aggravated Assault
The Canadian Press
Dec. 22, 2011
VANCOUVER - A B.C. man who performed a botched circumcision on his four-year-old son on the kitchen floor of his home has lost an appeal of his conviction and been found guilty of a more serious charge.
The B.C. Court of Appeal has stayed the man's conviction for criminal negligence causing bodily harm and convicted him of aggravated assault.
Court heard the boy was born premature at only 2.5 pounds and could not be circumcised at the time, nor did his parents request it.
South Korean Doctors
Male circumcision based on myths and misinformation
Peak age of circumcision of males in Korea is 12 years old!
UTIs are rare
"Of every 1,000 boys who are circumcised 2 will be admitted to hospital for a urinary tract infection (UTI) before they are one year old."
"Of every 1,000 boys who are not circumcised 7 will be admitted to hospital for a UTI before they are one year old. "
Sur 1 000 garÃ§ons circoncis 2 seront hospitalisÃ©s en raison d'une infection urinaire avant l'Ã¢ge d'un an.
Sur 1 000 garÃ§ons non circoncis 7 seront hospitalisÃ©s par suite d'une infection urinaire avant l'Ã¢ge d'un an.
Anyone who states that urinary tract infections are common among newborn baby boys, and therefore advocates that the genital mutilation of boys ( male circumcision) will stop urinary tract infections, is a liar or misinformed.
Besides, urinary tract infections are entirely treatable.
Men's News Daily Online
Commentary on the David Reimer botched circumcision / gender changed case
When Feminist Dogma Met Dr. Mengele
CanadianCRC editor's Note: Reminder about our policy: Many sides of an issue are expressed in articles on this website. Many articles contain points of view which should be heard but are not the position of the Canadian Children's Rights Council.
"..Circumcision May CAUSE Urinary Tract Infection"
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are rare, and mainly occur in the first year of life. They are several times Read More .. common in girls than boys (but of course surgery is never considered for girls).
They are painful, and women's experience of them is a powerful inducement to have sons circumcised, if they imagine that this will protect them. In fact, a significant proportion of boys contract UTIs even though they are circumcised. A study in Israel found they mainly occurred in girls at four months, but in boys soon after they were circumcised.... Now an Australian study suggests circumcision may cause urinary problems. Read More ..
Read what the medical profession associations have to say on this issue
2003 British Medical Association Statement Against Circumcision
The BMA does not believe that parental preference alone constitutes sufficient grounds for performing a surgical procedure on a child unable to express his own view. . . . Parental preference must be weighed in terms of the child's interests. . . . The BMA considers that the evidence concerning health benefit from non-therapeutic circumcision is insufficient for this alone to be a justification for doing it. . . . Some doctors may wish to not perform circumcisions for reasons of conscience. Doctors are under no obligation to comply with a request to circumcise a child. Read More ..
Circumcision, the unkindest cut
By Dr. Gifford Jones
Special to C-Health
Five-week-old infant died after he was circumcised at Penticton hospital
Vancouver, British Columbia
August 29, 2002
The Kamloops coroner is investigating the case of an infant who died last week from complications following his circumcision at Penticton Regional Hospital.
The five-week-old child was released after the procedure last Tuesday morning, but his parents went back to talk to the doctor later that day with concerns about bleeding. They returned home, but the situation worsened overnight, forcing them to rush the child back to hospital early Wednesday.
The infant was flown by air ambulance to Vancouver, where he died last Thursday in B.C. Children's Hospital.
"It certainly seems to be unusual," coroner Ian McKichan said yesterday. "It's definitely something that warrants an investigation, because it's a totally unexpected sort of death."
Deaths following circumcision are almost unheard of, but like any operation, bleeding and infection are the greatest dangers.
The case raises questions about an increasingly rare operation which stirs controversy in some circles.
"The bottom line is that circumcision is becoming a less-common procedure," said Dr. Morris Van Andel, registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. "It's no longer an insured service -- it's considered an option. That makes it all the Read More ..stressing when you hear about something like this."
According to Penticton hospital officials, the operation to remove the foreskin from the child's penis was conducted by a physician with 16 years' practice in British Columbia.