"It's hard to get a man to understand something, when his livelihood depends on his not understanding."
Circumcision advocates will always tell you that infant circumcision carries "little to no risk," and if there are any risks, they're "worth it." Few will ever take the time to tell you about what these risks are; that you go through with circumcising your child is more important. Sign here, we'll talk later. But for many parents, knowledge of the risks comes too late, when they have to face an agonizing ordeal they were never warned about by knife-happy doctors, because of an operation that ironically was supposed to "prevent" problems to begin with. I'm going to present some risks that your doctor will minimize, if he decides to even tell you about them at all.
Infection is a risk that comes with any surgery. As long as anyone is causing an intentional wound, it opens up a person's body to infection. But here's the trick; circumcision is elective, non-medical surgery that is completely unnecessary in an already perfectly healthy child. It makes no sense to operate a child, to purposefully increase his chances for infection, in order to prevent conditions for which there are already better prevention options and/or effective treatment should the condition occur at all.
Circumcision particularly increases a boy's chances for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. In 2009, at the beginning of the year, an inspection of Beth Deaconess Hospital revealed that 19 newborns had gotten infected with MRSA, 15 of which were boys who were infected through their circumcision wounds. You can read more details about this here:
This study reveals that the risk for UTIs is higher particularly in traditional circumcisions performed by Jewish mohels.
This is telling because I have often heard it said that circumcisions performed by mohels are "better" because circumcisions are all that mohels do for a living.
Let's see... "reduce the risk" of infection in a child by putting him increasing his chances FOR infection by causing a deliberate wound... I'm still trying to see the sense in this...
Too Much Skin Removed
In my personal opinion, ANY skin removed is "too much skin removed." A child is always born with just the right amount of skin, because the foreskin is standard equipment. The foreskin isn't any more "extra" than the labia or clitoral hood are "extra." "Too much skin removed" refers to more skin removed than desired. When too much skin is excised from a boy's penis, he will have painful erections when he grows up, because there is not enough skin to accomodate the shaft of the penis.The skin may stretch to accomodate the shaft as the boy grows, but if it fails to, the shaft of the penis becomes bent out of shape due to the restrictive conditions in which it is placed. As a man, the child may have an erection that bends forward or to the side. Hairy skin may be pulled up onto the shaft, creating what looks like a hairy shaft.
For examples of penises with too much skin removed, please visit the following link.
WARNING: Pictures of penises, particularly grotesque penises, ahead. Not for the squeamish:
Partial or Full Ablation
Let's be honest with ourselves; any which way you're trying to slice it, circumcision is ALWAYS partial ablation of the penis. You're cutting part of a child's penis off, and there is simply no way around that. What "partial or full ablation" means is partial or full ablation of what is supposed to remain after a circumcision, which is a shaft and a bare glans. Circumcising a child will put him at risk for partial or full ablation of the glans, and/or the penis itself. This happens even with professional "jacks of their trade," so it is a mistake to believe that "this can never happen with an experienced professional."
In the study in the following link, a child lost approximately 10% of his glans carried out by two experienced physicians.
The procedure in the above example was carried out using a Mogen clamp, a device notorious for glans amputations, despite its promise that "no injury to the glans is possible."
In 2007, another boy at Sarah Bush Hospital, Mattoon, IL lost his glans to circumcision with a Mogen clamp:
And yet another at South Fulton Medical Center, Atlanta, GA lost a third of his glans, putting Mogen on notice about the danger of the device :
Finally, a boy in New York lost his glans during a bris to a Mohel who tried to circumcise him using a Mogen clamp.
Mogen was sued for $2.3 million in the Atlanta case, and for $10.8 million in the Florida case, putting the company out of business. (According to AJC, there had been another law suit against Mogen for $7.5 million in a 2007 Massachusetts lawsuit.)
The moral of the story is, it doesn't matter who performs the circumcision, and no matter what tools he uses; there is ALWAYS a risk, even when a so-called "pro" does it.
Finally, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting infant can result in death. Circumcisors will either downplay this risk, if they decide to even mention it at all. It's hard to get concrete estimates on how many children die every year as a result of this unnecessary surgery. Hospitals and circumcising physicians have revenue and a reputation to protect, so many choose not to disclose this information. In other cases, doctors lie and attribute the death to something else, say "septic shock," "hemmorage" or "cardiac arrest."
As an example, last year, a mother blogged in great detail about the birth and death of her son. He had been born with a pre-existing heart problem, and so the boy's circumcision was delayed. Though many tried to dissuade her from circumcising her child who was already in a delicate condition on her blog, she ignored the warnings and insisted she was going to have her son circumcised come what may. On her blog she spelled out in detail how her son's condition was improving, and how her physicians kept insisting that "the time to circumcise was now."
Not too long afteward, the mother posts on her blog, asking for prayers because, as expected, her son was in critical condition. They couldn't stop the bleeding and the boy was dying. 7 hours passed, and it finally dawns on physicians that the boy needs stitches to stop the bleeding, but a little too late. The boy dies, but the mother insists that her physicians "confirm" that the child's death had all to do with his pre-existing condition, and not at all with the fact that the child bled through his circumcision wound. The mother has since taken down that part of her blog. She announced that her son's body would be cremated. Did the boy die because of his condition or because of circumcision? Now nobody will ever know.
In the UK, another boy, Amitai Moshe, goes into cardiac arrest immediately after his bris. The verdict of his inquest a few years later? Amitai Moshe died of "natural causes," and the fact that he started having breathing problems and started bleeding through his nose and mouth had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he was ritually circumcised just minutes before.
Read the shameless story here:
There have been a few attempts to calculate how many boys die a year due to circumcision, each with different results. Estimating from available hospital records, numbers as far as over 200 boys a year have been given. In a latest study, the number was 117 boys a year.
Any number given today though, has limitations for the reasons given. Hospitals aren't obliged to release this information, and circumcisers often attribute the death to something else. There are incentives for withholding data and mislabeling circumcision deaths; releasing the death information on elective, non-medical procedure means risking lawsuits. Reputations get ruined, and the revenue accrued for circumcisions (1.3 million boys get circumcised a year in the US) is lost.
In a recent case, a settlement was reached this week for $230,000, for the death of South Dakota Native American infant, Eric Dickson Keefe, who bled to death from a circumcision in 2008.
For more on death from circumcision, visit:
All surgeries carry risks for sure. But are they worth it, especially for elective, non-medical cosmetic surgery? Surgery that is supposed to "minimize the risks" for conditions that are already rare, easily treatable and/or easily preventable by other, more effective, less invasive means? If there is no medical condition that indicates surgery, can a physician even be performing circumcision in healthy, non-consenting infants, let alone allow parents to make any kind of "choice?" It is an American disgrace that parents have dig around for information, because those who are paid to be trustworthy dispensers of medical advice do not/cannot/will not provide it.