So what will it take?

Visitor (not verified)
anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
So what will it take?
20
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 1:49pm
What will it take for the American medical community to put an end to RIC? They are attempting to be "neutral" in their official stance on it by putting the decision on the shoulders of the parents while still maintaining that it isn't medically necessary. IMO, as long as it is left up to parents who have their own personal biases or preferences NOT based on medical necessity, RIC will continue on indefinitely. IMO, it will take the medical profession standing up FINALLY for newborn boys and saying "We won't perform unnecessary surgical procedures on baby boys". But does anyone actually foresee that happening? Will they put aside their own biases and truly practice the old "do no harm" adage? Will they give up the money they make by doing these unnecessary procedures? Will they continue to search for "potential" benefits so they can continue on and give the parents a few more reasons to justify their "preference"?

I personally have much more of a problem with the doctors who perform circ's than the parents who are allowed to "choose" it for their boys.

Pages

Avatar for fairyfrogmother
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to:
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 9:03pm
I agree. Since in the US, unfortunately, RIC is seen as the norm, having the AAP NOT say not to do it sends the message that it should be done to many people. I've heard people say if it shouldn't be done, the AAP would be against it. However, even if the AAP says not to do it, there will still be doctors who push it. When my 16 year old was circumcised, the doctor told me that it HAD To be done to every male. It was not presented as an option. Even though, at that time - mid 80's, the AAP policy statement was saying not to do it. Of course the AAP policy statement against infant circumcision wasn't shared with me by the doctor. I believe the only way that the practice of RIC will truly stop is if it is treated in the same way as female circumcision and outlawed, except for a true medical reason, until the child is 18 and can decide for himself. I know the idea of outlawing medically unnecessary circumcision seems like a big step, but in truth, circumcision is elective cosmetic surgery, and very few elective cosmetic surgeries are allowed to be done to minors.

I know someone will bring up that outlawing medically unnecessary circumcisions on infants will interfere with the Jewish practice of circumcising their sons on the 8th day after birth, but outlawing female infant circumcison interferes with the Sunni Muslim religious pratice of female circumcision, and no one seems too concerned about that. When a religious practice interferes with the rights of another person, it is not a protected practice. Although, realistically, there would probably have to be some loophole to allow circumcision for religious reasons in order to get such a law passed. I would be in favor of the loophole over no law at all. At least the nonJewish children will have their rights to a whole and complete body protected. Then, when the Jewish children grow up, if they feel they did not have equal protection under the law, they can work to close to loophole.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to:
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 11:51am
I strongly agree with everything you both have said. We know from what happened in Great Britain a half century ago that having the doctors start saying "We don't do that anymore" will effectively wipe out the practice in short order. There were some later circumcisions for problems, of course, most of which have been determined to have been either a variation of normal, or the result of inappropriate treatment, of course, but the number of those was much smaller than the number that had been circumcised as newborns. I think the reasons the RIC rate took a nose-dive so quickly in that setting, while Americans just looked for other excuses to keep doing it, are numerous, but there were two that I think were especially effective. One was that the socialized medicine would not cover the cost of it. The other was that the doctors were told not to do it anymore by someone else. If they'd had to come to that conclusion themselves, like here in the USA, it would have been more complicated. The way I see it, before a physician can admit that circumcision is wrong and start refusing to do circumcisions, he has to face some difficult issues. One, in most cases, is that his own penis is actually missing an important part. Another, in many cases, is that he has to face having chosen for his own son to have had a part of his penis cut off. Maybe the hardest of all is that he has to admit that the procedure he has already performed on a significant number of babies was a mistake. It is often easier for someone to jump on some claim that can be used to justify the procedure that to have to face those issues. This is human nature, and I think everyone has times when tend to want to justify their actions, rather than risk having to admit wrongdoing.

The more damaging a procedure is, the harder it can be to get anyone to admit that it is wrong. I like to compare circumcision to the practice of bloodletting. The procedure was employed by physicians for centuries. It was questioned multiple times but, instead of widespread abandonment of the procedure, when it became appartent that one set of excuses for it did not hold water, people would find a diffent reason for doing it. That has happened with circumcision. The indications for doing it have changed many times over the last 100+ years. As the wife of a physician, I witnessed many examples of this. One was when he was serving in the Air Force. No one had wanted to do circumcisions at our hospital. There were a couple who refused because they thought it was wrong. Most of them, however, just didn't want to be bothered. Since this was in Germany, and people couldn't just take their kids to a doctor off the base and have it done, the hospital commander was swamped with complaints. The chief of staff sent out a memo, with a schedule for what doctor would do circumcisions which days. It was accompanied with the statement that he felt that the jury was still out on whether circumcision was beneficial or not so, unless it was proven not to be beneficial, circumcisions would continue to be performed at that hospital! What kind of logic is that!

More on this later!

Noelani

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to:
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 6:09pm
I am completely against circ. I have an intact 19 month DS. It took some convincing my DH that boys don't need to be circed. I lived in England for 4 years and hardly any men are circed there. It wasn't the doctors who said no, it was the National Health System who stopped covering RIC. When people were going to have to start paying out of the pocket the RIC stopped. So I think it is the insurance companies that need to make the change first, then most RIC will stop. When I found out that I was having a boy it never occured to me to have him butchered. And it never occured to DH that he wouldn't be. I started a war campaign on DH. I sent e-mail video and photos of circs being performed on baby boys to DH everyday, until he came to his senses. Once he saw them he agreed with me. I can't believe parents are willing to cut off the most sensitive parts of their sons penis. It is barbaric.

My personal opinion is that a circed penis is UGLY. I wish my DH could get his foreskin back.

Andrea

EDD 9/23 #3

Andrea

Mom to Tyler 9/7/03,  Austin 8/27/01 and Morgan 3/1/99

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
In reply to:
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 7:37am
I completely agree, Andrea. I have been told more than once on this board that I am a pro-circ-er (which I deserve, since I like to stir the pot), but the truth of thre matter is that my sons won't be circumcised. I do get frustrated with the oft-expressed attitude here that doctors are, as a gruop, evil money-seekers with only their own self-interests at heart. Certianly some in the group are less than honorable, as are some members of any profession. However, most people do not subject themselves to four years of undergraduate education followed by four years of schooling so intense that it has been rated more stressful than divorce and then another 3-8 years of 80+ hour work weeks making about $8/hr. doing the scuttiest of the hospital scut work before FINALLY starting to work a decent job with decent hours (sometimes) at age 30+ (at which point you are 6 figures in debt and must pay that off before ever seeing a profit) unless you have SOME interest in actually helping people. That mouthful being said, as far as the full blame for RIC resting with doctors, well, as you may guess, I disagree. First of all, the duty of raising a child includes making decisions as to the child's well-being. Those decisions ought not to be made lightly, but with considerable thought and diligence. The parents DO have a responsibility to understand any procedure that they subject their child to, but on the same token doctors DO have a LEGAL responsibility to give the parents accurate information regarding the procedure. However, if doctors refused as a group to preform circumcisions, they'd be sued, and they'd probably lose. And before anyone says that they should put their own self-interests aside to protect baby boys, doctors, just as everyone else in the world, have a right to act in a manner that suits their own LEGITIMATE self-interests. Making more money when you have enough is not a legitimate self-interest, but preserving your career is. So, while I do agree that doctors are absolutely required to give parents accurate information about circumcision, I also believe that the burden rests equally with the parents, insurance companies, and the legal system to stop the practice.
Avatar for fairyfrogmother
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to:
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 8:54pm
I don't recognize the name. What name did you used to post under? I have some comments about your comments.

"at which point you are 6 figures in debt and must pay that off before ever seeing a profit"

This looks like a pretty strong case for doctors being very interested in lining their pockets with as much "easy" money as possible.

"The parents DO have a responsibility to understand any procedure that they subject their child to, but on the same token doctors DO have a LEGAL responsibility to give the parents accurate information regarding the procedure."

I fully agree. When my son was circ'd, the AAP was recommending it NOT be done. However, the doctor told me that it had to be done to every male, it was painless (there was not even a need for pain control, which my son didn't get), and my son would get infections and cancer if I didn't allow it. Where's the INFORMED consent there? Everything I was told was a lie. In addition, I had no idea that it even involved surgery or cutting. I was shocked to see my son's traumatized face after this "simple procedure", but I was even more surprised to see the blood in his diaper or the raw wound on his penis. I have had people tell me that I should have known that it involved the removal of the foreskin, but I didn't even know what a foreskin was at the time, and that term was never mentioned. Had I been told it involved any cutting, I certainly would have looked into it more, and I probably would not have agreed to it. I had seen intact and circ'd men, and I thought they were just born that way. I had never even heard the word circumcision until the doctor told me what he did about it.

The WORST part is that recently, in the last couple of years, a doctor told me another of my sons had to be circ'd. This was a pediatric urologist who said he had to be circ'd because eventually he would need surgery to correct his kidney reflux, and it was impossible to insert a catheter in an intact penis. That intact son, another intact son, and my intact father had all had caths used for problem unrelated to their foreskins, so I knew it was a lie. I told him to his face that I knew that was a lie and he knew it was a lie. I don't think anyone can actually believe that a pediatric urologist (who by the way was not new to the profession even) believed you can't cath an intact penis. He hung his head and admitted I was right. Then, he took one look at my son's penis, said he didn't need surgery (which you can't even tell from his penis, reflux is an INTERNAL problem), and charged me $185 for the visit. That was all that was done, and I had to pay $185 to stand there and hear this doctor lie to me. That's criminal! While there are good and bad in all groups, there seem to be a lot more bad in the foreskin trade than good, JMO

"However, if doctors refused as a group to preform circumcisions, they'd be sued, and they'd probably lose."

No they wouldn't. There is no law in this country that says that anyone's legal right to have a circumcision is protected and that anyone is required by law to perform circumcisions or be liable for some damages. In fact, the only laws about circumcision are the ones that say you can't legally circumsied a female until she is at least 18 and then only with her permission. Also, while a doctor can't be sued for NOT performing circumcisions, they CAN and are being sued for performing them.

"...I do agree that doctors are absolutely required to give parents accurate information about circumcision..."

I agree with this, and this is where the doctors can get themselves in a lot of trouble and where those law suits are coming from. Doctors are still giving parents inaccurate information about circumcisions. My son is 16. He still hasn't decided yet whether or not he plans to sue when he's 18, but if he should decide to do so, I can swear on a stack of Bibles that I didn't give informed consent. I, and many other parents, wasn't told the truth. I, and many other parents, were given lies and told we had no options.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
In reply to:
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 9:02pm
On the grounds that doctors are sued for everything under the sun. (Check out the Ob/Gyns in New Jersey. Why do you think they're doing that?) There is a reason that medical malpractice insurance reform is SUCH a big issue right now. Malpractice lawsuits are way out of hand. Why do I think they'd lose? Because it's a religious issue for some, and even if that didn't do the trick, someone would dig out some articles on the perceived "benefits" of RIC or some such nonsense. Frivilous lawsuits win everyday. And yeah, I do believe the courts would find that people are legally entitled to have thir sons circ'd. They found that people are legally entitled abort their sons and daughters.

You are right that doctors should police themselves, but I just disagree that the sole responsibility rests with them. The parents are the final decision-makers where their children are concerned. They need to be held responsible for the decisions that they make. It's ridiculous for them to shovel blame for their decisions about their children onto someone else's shoulders.

The truth about healthcare in any shape or form is that it is the responsibility of the patient (or patient's caregiver) to have some knowledge about what care is being given. This isn't our grandparents' era when doctors were considered all-knowing and infallible. They're humans, just like anyone else. And unfortunately, the field of medical knowledge is vast and ever-expanding so that it is impossible for any one doctor to keep up with all of the changes, even in their own field. You can argue the ethics of that point if you wish, but it is true. Any good physician keeps up as much as possible by attending conferences and reading journals in their field, but even then, they can only know what they read or hear. And, as you may know, the medical literature that appears at those conferences or in those journals is much more ambivalent toward the subject than this board is. Why would a doctor go against a parent's wishes when the literature says essentially, "There may be some benefit, we're not so sure, but there's probably no harm. It's probably not necessary."? Literature saying "There is no benefit, only risk." will come, but it will take time to do studies and publish them, so it'll be awhile. In the meantime, parents take the ultimate responsibility for their children and they need to act accordingly.

Avatar for frankly_speaking
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
In reply to:
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 12:00am
I'm sorry, I can't shed too many tears for doctors. Just a few years ago I read that doctors make an average of a little over $300,000.00 per year. For that much, they should take the time to learn their profession in depth. All of the excuses just don't wash.

The medical malpractice insurance thing reminds me of a dog and cat I once had. They were best of friends and played together all of the time. One of their favorite games was chasing each other through the house. The dog would chase the cat for a couple of loops and then the cat would chase the dog for a couple of loops. They would eventually become exhausted and lie down and sleep together. The doctors raise their rates to the insurance companies and then the insurance companies raise their rates and this goes on and on all the while the doctors are loudly proclaiming the insurance companies are ripping them off and the insurance companies are claiming the courts are ripping them off.

The truth of the matter is that less than 10% of the people who have valid malpractice claims ever take them to court. The vast majority of the claims never reach the multi million dollar verdicts the insurance companies claim and the number of those verdicts only number one or two for most states each year. The insurance industry and medical profession don't want you to know this. All of the malpractice legislation going on now only benefits the insurance companies. The insurance premiums will change very little if any of this goes through and it will be the patients who get screwed.

I have to disagree with not holding the doctor responsible for a proper diagnosis and correct treatment. The parent must be diligent but they can't educate themselves on all aspects of medical care in the short time they have. That's what you pay those exorbitant office visit fees for. It would be like taking your car or computer for repair and the repairman not knowing what he is doing and you have to tell him what is wrong and how to repair them. that would not be acceptable and a doctor not knowing the issues about circumcision is also not acceptable.



Frank

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to:
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 12:28am
Are you or your spouse in medical school? My (now-ex) husband was an oyster farmer when we got married, who hadn't even thought of being a doctor until several years later, so I have been through the whole metamorphosis! I also felt that anyone who would put themselves in for so many years of being poverty stricken, not having any aspect of your life that is your own, and treated like "dog meat", just to make money, would have to be delusional! I think there are a few who have the idea that alot more docs make millions than actually do, and that the whole process, from undergrad to private practice does not require as much sacrifice as it does. I can tell you that the sacrifices, in my case, were much more than any amount of money we have ever had was worth! Just one issue is the fact that, after 27 years of struggle, my husband is now married to one of his patients! (that is a whole other story, of course!) Anyway, there are lots of easier ways that someone with a high intelligence level can make $100,000 a year, and in a much shorter time!

As for lawsuits for not doing circumcisions, I am sure that, in lots of courts, a judge would uphold a parent's right to have their son circumcised. However, I don't think there is any way that anyone would say that any specific physician would have any obligation to be the one to perform it. That is the same as with abortion. Also, with the religious issue, circumcision by anyone other than a mohel is not considered to be a fulfillment of the covenant, so there is no way anyone could rightly say that a physician who refused to perform a circumcision was discriminating against anyone's religious rights!

Whatever your association is with the medical profession, you can make a huge difference in this issue! Medical professionals are not the experts on this issue, for the most part, but the general public thinks they are!

Best Wishes,

Noelani

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to:
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 12:39am
I like your analogy to a computer repairman that you had to tell what was wrong and how to fix it, being like alot of physicians are when it comes to circumcision. Furthermore, with circumcision, one must often also tell the physician what NOT to do, akin to having to ask them not to yank your CD rom out of your computer, or swing it around by the power cord! I also agree that there is NO excuse for physicians who refuse to educate themselves on this issue and just keep circumcising (and/or mistreating intact foreskins). The information about these things is so abundant that it is pretty hard to understand how anyone could AVOID becoming educated about!

I believe that, in future generations, medical historians will be both appalled and amused that a group of people who were supposed to be as smart as Americans are reputed to be would actually perform such a barbaric practice, with nothing but ridiculous excuses for it!

Noelani

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to:
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 6:59am
Wow, what an apologia for doctors not having a decent set of ethics and morals--excuses ALL!

Pages