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Home > Health - Child Circumcision > Article
Living with the Effects of Circumcision
Circumcision Surgery Accidents, Complications, and Atrocities
Journal of Urology (Baltimore), vol 153, no 3 part I (March 1995: pp
778-779) states that the rate of accidents is from 1.5% to 15%.
Read the article "Newborn Penile Glans Amputation during Circumcision .."
note that the doctor who operated had already performed the operation more than 300 times - so much for experience.
Eva Brown, the mother of a now three year old boy, took Dr. Lynn Whittington to court for circumcising her son in 1992 without her consent. ...the hospital must pay the child $65,000 in compensatory damages for the circumcision. Circ Info Network 950722
The programme, "It's a Boy," to be screened on Channel 4 this month,
includes graphic footage of a circumcision in the Midlands that went disastrously
wrong. The 8-day-old baby, circumcised without anaesthetic by a rabbi who
is not a doctor, is seen bloodied and screaming in agony during the
operation. When it was clear things were going wrong, the rabbi demanded
the crew stop filming, but they secretly recorded what followed. The boy
developed an infection and ended up in intensive care being pumped with
antibiotics and kept alive by oxygen and drips.
The film -- the work of Victor Schoenfeld, the Jewish father of a
circumcised son -- also presents details of 2 babies who died as a result
of circ and contains an interview with the mother of a third who almost
bled to death. It reveals cases of permanent genital disfigurement,
claiming that, at a conservative estimate one in 50 circumcisions leads to
serious complications. The impact of the film, which also shows Muslim
circumcisions, will be intensified by Ch. 4's decision to show it without
commercial breaks. --The Observer, London, 3 Sept 1995 Circ Info Network 951011
Pediatrics. 92(6):794-9, 1993 Dec.
The Inconspicuous Penis. Authors: Bergeson PS., Hopkin RJ., Bailey RB Jr., McGill LC., Piatt JP. Department of General Pediatrics and Urology, Phoenix Children's Hospital, AZ.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the etiology and management of the group of abnormalities referred to as the inconspicuous penis. DESIGN: Analysis of 19 cases seen over a period of 2 years by chart review. SETTING: Children's hospital in a major metropolitan area. PATIENTS: Nineteen boys referred to two pediatric urologists over a period of 2 years with penises that appeared abnormally small, but on palpation and measurement, were found to have a normal shaft with a normal stretched length. Diagnoses included were buried penis, webbed penis, and trapped penis. Patients ages ranged from 1 week to 13 years. FINDINGS: There were eight patients (42%) with trapped penis, and all were complications of circumcision (at age 1 week to 7 months). --trapped-penis
LOSS OF PENIS DUE TO CIRCUMCISION
TEL AVIV (AFP) - The parents of a two-year-old child who lost his penis due to an error during circumcision, have turned to the district court of Tel-Aviv, demanding US $800,000 in damages. Circ Info Network 940628
THE NEW YORK TIMES, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1995, Pg. C1
(Title) Early Violence Leaves Its Mark on the Brain
(Subtitle) Adolescent violence is traced to abuse and neglect in childhood.
(Subtitle) Early Violence Found to Be Etched in the Brain
Several strands of findings presented by researchers at the weekend
conference pointed to the same conclusion: brutality and cruelty to
children can leave a clear mark on the chemistry of the brain. And those
changes in brain chemistry may be the route by which a brutalized child
becomes a violent adult. The conference also offered some glimmers of
hope for changing an established inclination to violent behavior. Circ Info Network 951003
...in late July a 5-year-old boy died after a routine circumcision. Jeremie Johnson went into a coma and died a week after his parents authorized the removal of life support. Jose Tovar, MD, an anesthesiologist at Doctors Airline Hosp. in Houston, where the circumcision was performed, has resigned in connection with the incident. Circ Info Network 950922
During the course of the circumcision, Dr. Tam, a pediatrician, amputated approximately 30% of the distal glans penis and transected the glandular urethra. A less than successful attempt was made to reattach that which had been excised. The Plaintiff (an infant) has undergone 4 corrective surgeries and requires at least one further surgery at this time. Circ Info Network 950107
Allen A. Ervin was born in July 1985 and had been on life support since
December 1985, when his brain was damaged from oxygen deprivation during
The Anesthesiologists who attended to Allen during the circumcision settled
the case for $435,000 and agreed to lifetime payment of his medical bills.
He died at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, three weeks
before his 7th birthday. noharmm99
My son, Jacob, was born normal and healthy at Providence Hospital in Anchorage Alaska in 1986, he was routinely circumcised on his
second day of life. A few days later, we brought Jacob back to the hospital because an infection had developed at the circumcision site. A decision was made by his pediatrician to hospitalize him and administer antibotics. The next morning, he began to have seizures that went untreated. Twenty-six hours after entering the hospital, he stopped breathing during a massive seizure. As a result my son suffered profound brain damage. Today Jacob is almost ten years old, he requires 24 hour a day care as he will for the rest of his life. noharmm93
NEW YORK (AP) -- A clinic has agreed to pay $1.2 million to an 8-year-old
immigrant boy who was mutilated during a botched circumcision five years ago,
his lawyer said.
The clinic, a doctor and the rabbi who performed the operation were being
sued for causing "permanent shortening and disfigurement of the penis."
During the trial, experts testified that the mutilation would make sexual
intercourse difficult when the boy reaches maturity, according to Wednesday's
New York Post. Circ Info Network 951202
...and told the story of how he left for Europe for a couple of weeks
only to find his son had been circumcised at age 4 for a minor infection
which could have been easily treated with a topical medication. He noted the boy did not have an erection for several weeks, noting that it probably hurt too much.
I have had several patients in my practice, who while out of town, had
physicians recommend radical circumcision for self-limited infections or
perfectly normal foreskins. While it is not the way I would like to build a
practice, several boys have started to see me after the pediatrician in the
next town tried to forcibly retract their foreskins "just to have a look."
...one was a circumcised man (circumcised at the age of seven or eight when he was hospitalized for a broken arm) Circ Info Network 940713
There is no known medical condition which would require an immediate circumcision. If you and your spouse know this, no lie will prevail to
change your mind. noharmm59
I was circumcised at 8 years of age when they took me to the hospital for a tonsillectomy. It was done without my consent, and without being informed. I only found out AFTER it was done, and nobody bothered to explain to me what had happened. I DO feel mutilated, and it is in cases like mine where the rape/molestation/circumcision dividing lines DO tend to blur.
Bitter? You bet! --submitted by NOHARMM e-mail list subscriber
I was adopted nearly 'at birth' and it seems, while I was 'passing hands and names' I was cut without either pair of parents' consent. My parents have always pointed to the fact it was not done by the signing of their name, and that makes sense, as nobody I know, in my whole family, is cut, not even 'daddy'. So the whole issue of being cut without your parents consent makes it feel even more terrible. And much similar to a 'rape' than anything else. --submitted by NOHARMM e-mail list subscriber
On the psychological impact topic, my seemingly earliest impression was
about how almost cute my mother thought it was that males needed to be
fixed right away. She was an early feminist, I would say, and definitely
thought women were superior, and missed no chance to say so, it seemed.
With my father being physically abusive, and then gone by the time I was
10, it seemed to me she was right. To then find myself becoming what I
hated and feared the most, a man, was plenty enough to trouble with, so I
didn't get around to dealing with circumcision until much later. First I
cut my skin bridge, and then I tried to learn what a foreskin is. Then
finally I learned about restoration. --submitted by NOHARMM e-mail list subscriber
I know of two "double circs." I have met both of the victims personally, so I know these to be true.
One was performed on a three or four year-old boy in the midwest. He had been circumcised at birth. He was overweight, and his penis was slighlty retracted at times (especially after exposure to cold) within the fat of his pubic area. This was disturbing to his mother, who took him to the hospital. A urologist recomended that he be "circumcised again", which he was. He has had numerous problems, and is currently undergoing reconstructive surgery. His family is sueing the hospital.
A grown Jewish man joined an orthodox religious community in Isreal. He was
told that his circumcision was not sufficiently extensive, and encouraged to
be re-circ'd in order to be more holy. He underwent one or two re-
circumcisions before leaving the sect and rejecting its teachings. His penis
is largely denuded and he describes himself as "experiencing constant pain."
--submitted by NOHARMM e-mail list subscriber
CAIRO, Nov 11 (Reuter) - An Egyptian college student sliced
off his penis because he was convinced it was an impure organ
that impeded religious activity, an Egyptian newspaper said on
The daily Akhbar al-Youm quoted the unnamed student's mother
as saying her son had lately been praying rigorously and
repeating unorthodox ideas about the cleanliness of male sex
Moslems must perform ritual washing before each of the five
daily prayers to clean their bodies. The paper said the boy, who
cut his penis off on Friday, was in a serious condition. --submitted by NOHARMM e-mail list subscriber
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) -- One boy has died and 12 are being treated in a hospital after circumcisions by "bush doctors" in South Africa's former Venda black homeland, Northern Province Premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi said Wednesday. Circ Info Network 950722
Paige says, "Westerners look askance at the ritual mutilations of the body
performed in exotic tribes, but they justify their own ritual mutilations
as medically appropriate. Americans...stand with few other modern nations
in clinging to a ritual that is no less 'barbaric' and no more 'hygienic'
[than] routine circumcision." Circ Info Network 950722
As far as *"sprinkling"* goes, I have that problem possibly because
of my circ. The rather sloppy, but not unsightly, job interferred
somehow with the opening of the urethra causing an irregular
stream while urinating. At the age of 8 or 9, I was forced
back under the knife to "widen" the opening because when the circ
healed, it constricted the flow. The reason for having to widen
the constricted opening was that I wet the bed until that age and it
was claimed it was because I couldn't completely void before bedtime
everynight due to, you guessed it, constricted urine flow. I believe
the medical term for this condition is *meatus stenosis*. Bedwetting,
further surgery, pain, insensitive doctors who told me to shut up
when I cried in the hallway right before the 2nd surgery are just a few
of the indignities I suffered precisely because I was unnecessarily and
Tell that to the zealots who talk about such idiocies as "preventing
having to do it later in childhood..."; the foreskin "causing a feeling
of differentness"; etc. All of these questions of differentness and trauma
would be more than adequately addressed if the practice was not done
routinely to infants. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, to repeat the
cliche'. I only wish they had kept their f***ing medically sterile hands
off me! --from the NOHARMM mail list
Two other men called in to say what miserable lives they've had
due to botched circumcisions. Circ Info Network 941208
I knew that my penis was not as it ought to be, from the age of about 3. My reaction then was that I was born that way as a punishment for some wrong of mine which I could not recall nor comprehend. At age 9 I was told that my MGM was a mistake, that there had been nothing wrong with me that required its being done. The doctors had bullied my naive 19 year-old mother whilst my intact father was away at war to cut me and the various physical messes were a result of the MGM.
She talked about having further surgery to correct the worst of them, and I can still re-live (and see with photographic clarity) the terror and my scream of "NO NO, Mummy, NO!" which probably reflected a deep memory of the original pain. Throughout childhood onwards I felt mutilated, ugly, and unlovely and unlovable.
When you add that to the ordinary doubts of puberty; when you add that to the loss of sexual function (every erection was uncomfortable because of lack of skin); when I saw every day the crooked, ragged scar, the skin bridge, tags, suture-holes, the scars of infections on the skin just below the corona, the large 'blister-scar,' the encysted remains of my frenulum and the resulting twisting and general deformation; when so much sensation had been lost that at age 20 I could not feel oral sex on my glans but had to look; when at age 40 so much sensation had been lost that sex is and always was just a mechanical thrusting which at best felt of nothing, and more usually was a dry, abrading grind of encrusted vaginal fluids on the base of the shaft; then it is little wonder that I am now impotent. --from the NOHARMM mail list
What really ticks me off is that someone decided that I didn't ever need
to fully experience my own body in its natural state since that natural
state is filthy, disgusting, too animal-like for us "highly evolved"
humans to tolerate, etc. I had no rights then - I was just someone's
It amazes me that a whole society can blind itself to the fact that it
willingly participates in the barbaric sexual mutilation of male babies.
Mothers agree to this ritualistic practice out of ignorance. If they knew
the truth the practice would quickly die out and maybe even be outlawed.
Yes I am traumatized, and our society's blind acceptance of sexual
mutilation isn't helping my recovery at all. --from the Restoration mail list
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