Circumcision - Male Genital Mutilation
Circumcision, the unkindest cut
Toronto Sun and various other newspapers of the Sun Media chain across Canada, by Dr. Gifford-Jones, March 4, 2002
When I researched this column on circumcision, my initial reaction was "wow." I thought the topic would be as easy to write about as rolling off a log, but it took hours. I hadn't realized the male foreskin had triggered so many medical articles and so much controversy. Now I'm convinced that most families make a decision on circumcision without knowing much about this procedure. The question is, has male circumcision increased the sale of Viagra?
For some families the decision is easy. They believe circumcision should be performed for religious as well as for sound medical reasons. But if that's not the case, what should you do? A good start is a lesson on anatomy and its sexual implications.
First, the foreskin doesn't cover just a small surface of the penis. The skin removed by circumcision measures from three to five inches in length. That's about half of the total skin of the penis. Besides, inside the foreskin, there's a band of tissue that moves in and out like an accordion. This gliding motion triggers sexual reflexes and contributes to sexual pleasure.
So shouldn't sensible babies cry out to parents , "you had better think twice before removing such a significant portion of my anatomy. And have you ever considered how this will affect my sex life?" Some might even add in these litigating times, "do it and I'll sue you for a million."
Due to the recent research of Dr. John Taylor, male babies now have even greater grounds for being upset. Taylor is a retired pathologist in Winnipeg, Man. In 1996, he and his colleagues published a report describing anatomically 21 foreskins in the British Journal Of Urology.
In effect, Taylor claimed medical textbooks of anatomy have neglected the foreskin for hundreds of years. In Gray's Anatomy, the bible of anatomy, there's just one sentence about the foreskin. But Taylor and his colleagues found a "ridged band," 1.25 centimetres (half an inch) in width, that runs around the inside tip of the foreskin never before mentioned.
A detailed microscopic examination of the foreskin revealed it's not merely a piece of skin. Rather, it's loaded with blood vessels and nerves. Remove it and you also amputate a large part of the sexual portion of the penis. That in itself should warrant a class action suit by millions of males!
Erectile dysfunction (ER) is due to several causes. But I wonder how much Viagra is being sold today because of too much snipping of the foreskin?
So why is circumcision being done? One lame argument claims it prevents cancer of the penis, an extremely rare problem. But you don't amputate breasts to prevent cancer of the breast!
Studies do show that circumcision decreases the number of urinary tract infections during the first year of life. But is this a valid reason for amputation that may decrease the pleasures of sex for 75 years?
What about complications from the procedure? Luckily, they're rare but there have been some terribly botched jobs. Some have resulted in severe injuries to the penis and urethra (the tube that carries urine through the penis). Other babies have suffered from infections and hemorrhage.
So, if you don't have religious views about circumcision, what is the best decision? The Canadian Paediatric Society believes that circumcision of newborns should not be a routine procedure.
The Council on Scientific Affairs of The American Medical Association has reached the same conclusion.
Due to the updated anatomy lesson from Dr. Taylor, saying "thanks but no thanks" to circumcision seems to be a logical conclusion. Surely, nature put the foreskin there for a valid reason and it's rarely prudent to disagree with nature.
As Dr. Taylor remarks, "The value of the actual foreskin is often put at zero. But parents should put a value on it because it's a structure in its own right."
I'm sure some readers will argue, "I've enjoyed good sex for years and I was circumcised." Maybe so, but they could also be living in a fool's paradise. Have they considered how much better sex would have been without the snipping!
And what about the babies' pain? I've heard too many screaming babies not to know it's a painful procedure. As Dr. Margaret Somerville, a lawyer and ethicist at McGill University says, "People have a fundamental human right not to have pain intentionally inflicted on them." Shouldn't that human right include babies?
Male Circumcision, the unkindest cut
By Dr. Gifford Jones
Special to C-Health
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."
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
Peak age of circumcision of males in Korea is 12 years old! Read More ..
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
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.
Read what the medical profession associations have to say on this issue
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 ..
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.