Baby Gets Circumcised Without Consent -- and His Parents Sue

Circumcision is a hot-button topic these days, with everything from medical research to religion to regional trends playing a role in the sometimes-agonizing decision that parents of newborn boys must make.

But Miami mom Vera Delgado had already made the choice not to have her son Mario Viera circumcised, and thought she'd made her wishes clear to doctors at South Miami Hospital. But, according to the Associated Press, a misread consent form led to the baby being circumcised anyway, and yesterday Delgado filed a lawsuit over the snafu.

In a statement, the hospital said: “The baby's circumcision was an unfortunate mistake caused by a misread consent form. As soon as the error was discovered, the doctor and nurses let the family know what had occurred. We also immediately implemented new processes to ensure this mistake will not occur again.”

“This case brings to light the concept of why Americans routinely circumcise their newborn boys in the absence of a compelling medical or religious reason,” wrote Delgado’s hired law firm, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers, on Florida Injury Lawyer Blog. “The procedure is irreversible, and this baby will have to live with the consequences of it for the rest of his life.”

Stories of babies being circumcised without the parents' permission are rare, but hearing Delgado and Viera's tale shows just how important a decision it can be to many people. And our society seems to be truly split: The most recent National Hospital Discharge Survey from the National Center on Health Statistics (conducted in 2007) estimates that about 55.4% of infant males were circumcised.

Deciding whether to circumcise your soon-to-be baby boy? Some recent studies have shown that there may in fact be some potential medical benefits to removing the foreskin, such as a reduced risk of contracting STDs and a reduced risk of contracting HIV through heterosexual sex. But it's a surgical procedure, which always carries some risk to the patient.

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t take a firm stand for or against the practice. On its Healthy Children website, it states: “The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that circumcision has potential medical benefits and advantages, as well as risks. The existing scientific evidence is not sufficient to recommend routine circumcision. Therefore, because the procedure is not essential to a child’s current well-being, we recommend that the decision to circumcise is one best made by parents in consultation with their pediatrician, taking into account what is in the best interests of the child, including medical, religious, cultural and ethnic traditions.”

In other words, even a doctor can't make this weighty choice for you. Check out the facts at healthychildren.org and in our article, The Circumcision Decision. Talk over the pros and cons with your partner and your pediatrician, and do what ultimately feels right to you.

Do you think this mom should sue? Chime in below!

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