Sunday, November 27, 2011

CIRCUMCISION: Another Baby Dies

It's been a while... There's so much I want to write about... There is so much I want to say... I've just been busy with life... work... family... I've been just so overwhelmed...

But I thought this warranted a post.

Often, when circumcision is promoted in this country, the so-called "benefits" of his non-therapeutic surgery are terribly exaggerated, while the risks are completely downplayed, if mentioned at all.

The only ones most parents in this country will hear about, if physicians even bother mentioning them are "pain and discomfort." Few will mention that circumcision could result in MRSA infection, a botched circumcision requiring future correction, partial or full ablation, and even death.

Yes, death is a risk or "complication" of circumcision, but it is rarely mentioned, if at all.

This is what is known and recognized by medical organizations in this country as "informed consent."

An estimated 117 deaths occur every year in the United States due to circumcision. This is a rough estimate, and more conservative than its predecessors (in the past, estimates have been as high as 200 or more deaths per year).

It is hard to get an accurate estimate on the number of deaths in the United States, because deaths due to circumcision are rarely reported as such, if reported at all. At 1.3 million circumcisions a year, circumcision is a money-maker for American medicine, and doctors have an investment to protect. Reporting adverse circumcision effects puts the yearly stipend in jeopardy, not to mention the disrepute it would bring to American medicine. 

Doctors have reputations to uphold, and pocketbooks to line and protect from lawsuits. With so much to lose, there is incentive to hide the evidence. And, parents who would like to maintain their illusion of circumcision being "harmless," and perish the thought that they were actively involved in any way in the death of their son, often agree to keep the death "secret," or report it as the doctor says.

Deaths due to circumcision are often reported as caused by something else, such as "cardiac arrest," or "septic shock." Reporting secondary causes of death hides the fact that they were caused by the circumcision that preceded them. Additionally, hospitals are not required to report deaths caused by circumcision.

Reporting deaths from circumcision would open the floodgates to lawsuits by angry parents and angry men. Reporting deaths from circumcision means loss of revenue. Reporting deaths from circumcision means the "benefits" have to be reconsidered. Reporting deaths from circumcision means that American medical organizations are being irresponsible. Reporting deaths from circumcision means "culture and tradition" is put in danger.

For these reasons, we will never know for sure how many children die as a result of their circumcisions. Reputations to protect, culture and tradition to safeguard, and floodgates to keep sealed.

Meanwhile, boys continue to die.

Connor James was born on Thanksgiving Weekend, Friday, November 25th in Pittsburgh, PA. On Saturday, November 26th, Baby Connor bled to death following his circumcision. Circumcision claims yet another life.

Last year, Joshua Haskins suffered a similar death. After struggling to survive in a NICU with a congenital heart problem, doctors thought it gracious to pressure his mother to have him circumcised "now that he's strong and healthy." Doctors, and even Josh's mother herself insist that Joshua died because of his heart problem (which wasn't aggravated by his circumcision?), although her blog records, which were saved before they were taken down, relate clearly that Joshua had been bleeding uncontrollably, and that it wasn't until 7 hours that doctors caught the nicked vein and decided to stitch it up. By then it was too late.

Would Joshua Haskins still be alive today, had they found the vein in the nick of time?

Who knows.

One thing is for sure though; Joshua was healthy and strong before his circumcision, which unquestionably did cause the complication. Joshua Haskins didn't have to die.

Neither did Connor James.

Neither did countless others before him that we will most likely never know about. 

Circumcision KILLS, people.

Death is one of the "risks" of this procedure.

Considering that there is no medical or clinical necessity to circumcise a perfectly healthy child, is it really worth it?

Without medical or clinical indication, can doctors even be performing risky surgery on a healthy, non-consenting individual, let alone elicit any kind of a "decision" from parents? 

A week from today, Bay Area Intactivists, an intactivist group in San Francisco, will hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of all male, female and intersex children who have lost their lives due to unnecessary genital surgery.

Rest in peace, Joshua Haskins.

Rest in peace, Connor James.

Rest in peace, Amitai Moshe.

Rest in peace, all of you who died before your time due to this human tragedy.

May one day infant genital mutilation be a thing of the past.


  1. ¿What is the death of a few babies compared to the need of doctors to get money for a new yacht?

  2. It's all down to blasted, hateful religion. There is no reason to do this to little boys. Don't believe all the Bible rubbish, that's made up to control people and how well it has worked over the centuries

  3. Roz, remember that not all boys in the US are circumcised because of religion. Only about 3% of all child circumcisions in the US are Jewish brisses; the rest are secular circumcisions that are performed at hospitals.

    Most boys in this country are circumcised not because of religion, but because it's cultural tradition. The most common reasons American parents give for having their sons circumcised are "so that he'll look like his father" and "so that he won't stand out in the locker room."

    As the old refrain goes, "Old habits die hard."

  4. "Old habits die hard" indeed! How do you think those habits developed?

    As you well know, Joseph, the "cultural tradition" in the U.S. stems from the Victorian Christian's introduction of circumcision as a means to prevent the sinful "self-abuse" of masturbation, and to reduce the pleasure of sex, tainting sexual desire with pain and shame.

    There is absolutely NO way other than religion that a practice so ill-conceived—so, brain-damaged in nature—could ever take root, and it is that same kind of brain damage with which contemporary religion still imbues adherents. The "cultural practice" persists, because people are unthinking, and religion helps to sculpt unthinking brains.

    Do not avoid making the acknowledgment that religion is largely at fault for disgraces of this world like genital mutilation.