Circumcision Information Network

Formerly CIN CompuBulletin
Volume 2, Number 39

$1.2 MILLION: ANOTHER BOTCHED CIRCUMCISION
NEW YORK (AP) — A clinic has agreed to pay $1.2 ion to an 8-year-old immigrant boy who was mutilated during a botched circumcision five years ago, his lawyer said.

The settlement was reached a month after a civil trial began in state Supreme Court on allegations the boy, then 3, lost part of his penis during the operation, according to his attorney, Mark Pruzan.

The boy and his family, who asked that their names be withheld, are Russian immigrants who were referred to the Brook Plaza Surgical Ambulatory Center in Brooklyn by agencies that help new Jewish immigrants.

The clinic’s attorney, Neil Ptashnik, was quoted in Wednesday’s Daily News as saying that the settlement was “a business decision” that carried “specifically no admission of guilt.”

The boy was one of 16 children who underwent circumcision at the Brooklyn clinic in July 1990.

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.

Under Jewish religious law, ritual circumcision — or bris — is performed on 8-day-old boys. But the procedure was not commonly available in the former Soviet Union. In addition, some Jewish families refrained from having their sons circumcised because it could make them targets of prejudice in communities where Jews were victims of anti-Semitism.

WHY?

I am an attorney who might be having a son over the next few months and, as a result, has been seeking information on whether or not to leave him intact. Today, I came across a case in the New York Law Journal that really helped my decision. The headline read: ” $1.2 Million Accord In Circumcision Suit”. Why was this not in the regular press? It certainly is an “interesting” story if nothing else.

The case involved an eight-year-old boy who was circumcised by a rabbi when he was three. The rabbi who maimed this child is named Mordechai Mozes and he was uninsured and not represented at trial. Dr. Frederick Greenstein, who administered the local anesthetic; the Brook Plaza Ambulatory Surgical Center of Brooklyn, where the act was performed; and Agudath Israel of America, a third party defendant who arranged the mutilation, all contributed to the settlement. The Doctor contributed $550,000, and the other two defendants contributed $500,000 each.

Mark S. Pruzan, Esq. of Jacoby & Myers, which represented the child, stated that surgery to reattach the glans of the infant’s penis was unsuccessful. The boy’s name was not released.

Why was this not discussed in the media? Why was this buried deep in the Law Journal? Why were adults given the legal right to authorize this procedure on this child’s body? What can be done? I think I have decided what I will do if my wife gives birth to a male in four months.

CIN: Have you contacted NOCIRC? They have loads of medical and legal information on hand (see address below). There are several lawyers working in cooperation with NOCIRC to prosecute and uphold the law, which the circumcision of minors is clearly against.

The media are, for the most part, willing accomplices in the crimes of genital mutilation. Opponents of circumcision have been largely ignored for decades. (This is why we’re so active on the internet, where we are free to express our opinions.) One example is the fact that studies which suggest that circumcision has medical benefits get wide publicity, while other studies which prove them wrong are ignored. Uncovering the truth about this subject is simply too painful for most people to bear, whether they are aware of it or not.

As author Rosemary Romberg said, (I paraphrase), “The decision not to circumcise is so ridiculously simple that it hardly requires any thought.”

NONTHERAPEUTIC CIRCUMCISION SHOULD NOT BE PERFORMED
Letter to the Editor:
American Medical News, vol. 38, no. 26 (July 17, 1995): p. 16.
Contributed by PAHadrian@aol.com

Regarding “Don’t equate male circumcision with female genital mutilation” (Letters, June 5,):

Regardless of cultural milieu, genital mutilation often has the power to engage the emotions at the expense of logic and science.

The pain of circumcision is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of scientific fact. Since 1974, over 126 studies have established that the pain of this amputative surgery is excruciating.

The opinion that nontherapeutic circumcision has valid medical applications is held exclusively by certain American physicians.

The notion that the prepuce has no defined function is incorrect, although it may serve a psychological purpose for the circumcised male.

The prepuce is a highly enervated and vascularized genital structure. It is entirely lined with the peripenic muscle sheet. Specialized ecoptic sebaceious glans on the inner preputial surface produce natural emollients and lubricants necessary for normal sexual function. The primary orgasmic triggers are found in the prepucutial orifice and frenulum. When unfolded, the prepuce is large enough to cover the length and circumference of the erect penis and acts as a natural sheath through which the shaft glides during coitus. Only the presence and functions of the prepuce allow for physiologically normal coitus to occur as designed by nature.

Males and females alike have an inherent human right to the integrity of the reproductive organs with which nature provided them.

Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH
Los Angeles

Frederick Hodges
Berkeley, Calif.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION call NOCIRC, the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers at (415) 488-9883, fax (415) 488-9660. Ask about the resource provider nearest you. For written information, write NOCIRC, PO Box 2512, San Anselmo, CA 94979, with SASE and/or donation if possible.