Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

Campbell blasted on child welfare

Ex-watchdogs say letter raising concerns about the system has gone unanswered for nearly a year

Times Colonist, Victoria, BC, Lindsay Kines and Jeff Rud Sound Off, March 9, 2005

Three former government watchdogs say they've been waiting nine months for Premier Gordon Campbell to answer their concerns about B.C.'s child-protection system.

The former ombudsman, children's advocate and children's commissioner couriered a letter to Campbell's office last June complaining that his government had undermined public oversight of child-protection issues.

"It ... looks like children do not matter to this government, a message inconsistent with that on your homepage, and that you are avoiding responsibility by refusing to be held to account through independent offices," states the June 16, 2004, letter.

Former children's commissioner Cindy Morton, former children's advocate Joyce Preston, and former B.C. ombudsman Dulcie McCallum asked for a confidential meeting with Campbell. But after waiting in vain for a response, they decided to release the letter to the media Tuesday.

Government house leader Graham Bruce told reporters the letter was never "logged" and it appears the premier's office didn't receive it.

But Morton provided the media with a courier's receipt of delivery, showing that somebody signed for the letter June 18, 2004. Morton also said that her secretary followed up with three telephone calls to the premier's office from July to October to inquire about a response.

"Not only were they provided (the letter), but they were given lots of opportunity to let us know if they couldn't find it," Morton said in an interview.

Morton said front-line workers had contacted them with concerns about the safety of kids in care, and the quality of that care. But she said the former watchdogs found there was no longer any place to get answers to their questions because the Liberals had eliminated the children's commission and the advocate's office. The child and youth team in the ombudsman's office was also a victim of budget cuts.

The children's commission, set up after the Gove inquiry into the death of five-year-old Matthew Vaudreuil a decade ago, conducted comprehensive reviews of the ministry's care plans for each child, Morton said.

"Nobody does that anyRead More ..tside the ministry," she said, adding that the children's ministry doesn't make its reviews public.

"The same is true of kids who are injured or die in care," Morton said. "We don't know how many. We don't know what the circumstances are. We don't know if there's issues of quality of care and protection."

Morton said the coroner's service was given that mandate, but hasn't released a public report in three years.

"How does anybody inform themselves about whether kids are safe in this province?" Morton asked.

Minister of Children and Family Development Stan Hagen denied a lack of accountability.

"We have a child and youth officer which we appointed because there was too much duplication with all of the other positions that were there," he said. "The child and youth officer is independent and actually has a legislated mandate to comment publicly on all issues affecting children and youth without any interference."

He said the Liberals have "actually reduced the number of children in care down to 9,000 currently in B.C., which is down 15 per cent. ... We're trying to keep families together and we'll continue to provide the supports.''

But Morton said it means nothing to say there are fewer children in care. "It means kids could be in unsafe homes. It means teenagers could be on the street rather than foster care. ... It tells me nothing about whether kids are safer."

Asked by reporters how the government knows the children are thriving if they're not in care, Hagen said: "Well, you know, we generally find out when people aren't happy.''

Hagen also stated that budget cutbacks haven't eroded government's ability to take care of vulnerable children.

Morton said the Liberals have replaced the previous watchdogs with a part-time child and youth officer, who lacks the power to independently review the ministry's decisions about the care of children.

Jane Morley, B.C.'s child and youth officer, said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C., that she respects the three women's views, but is disappointed they didn't speak with her directly.

She argued that her office is independent, but has a different mandate than her predecessors. She does, however, agree that budget cutbacks are a "great concern."

Hagen, who was named children's minister after Christy Clark stepped down last fall, said he learned of the letter to the premier only on Tuesday, but would have met with all or any of the three women if they had asked him for a meeting.

Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005

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.

baby screaming in pain

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 ..

Toronto Sun logo

Male Circumcision, the unkindest cut

By Dr. Gifford Jones

Special to C-Health

Read More ..

Baby Died from Herpes Transmitted by Rabbi During Ritual Genital Mutilation

ABC News USA - Spanking children Leads to aggression

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."

Male Genital Mutilation (MGM) Circumcision - Baby Boy Botched

Circumcision Botched - Canadian Press

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! Read More ..

Urinary Tract Infection Rates for Both Circumcised and Non-Circumcised Baby Boys Under 1 Year Old

UTIs are rare

Canadian Paediatric Society - Circumcision statement

"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. "

Société canadienne de pédiatrie - circoncis statement

Sur 1 000 garçons circoncis 2 seront hospitalisés en raison d'une infection urinaire avant l'âge d'un an.

Sur 1 000 garçons non circoncis 7 seront hospitalisés par suite d'une infection urinaire avant l'âge d'un an.

CanadianCRC editor:
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 Rights Commentary

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 ..

Toronto Sun Circumcision of males unkindest cut

Circumcision, the unkindest cut

By Dr. Gifford Jones

Special to C-Health

Read More ..

Baby Dies From Circumcision

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.