“Elective circumcision should be
performed only if the infant’s condition
is stable and healthy.”
American Academy of Pediatrics
Technical Report on Circumcision, 2012
A baby was circumcised on November 10, 2015 at Kosairs Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be newsworthy; it is estimated that more than 3,000 male babies are circumcised daily in the United States. However, this was one particular baby. As the parents described on a GoFundMe page, he “was born August [**], 2015 at [**] at 34 weeks 3 days gestation. He weighed 4lbs 4oz and was 15 inches long. Shortly after birth, he started having breathing problems and was intubated and put on ventilation. The doctors at Owensboro Health noticed he had a very small ribcage, after doing xrays, they decided to fly him to Kosairs Children’s Hospital. He was seen by many geneticists and doctors, and they noticed he was showing signs of something called Klippel Feil Sequence. He has a cleft palate, small ribs, and a short neck along with some renal issues (enlarged kidneys).”
While at Kosairs, his spine was found to be detached from his skull (internal decapitation), making his condition even more critical. The baby was intubated and wearing a brace to keep his head from moving.
And then, they decided to perform a circumcision at the same time as a major surgery on November 10.
The Intactivist community jumped to recommend that the baby be spared from the circumcision; after all, this was a baby with extreme health problems who has been fighting for his life for months now. But all the attempts to contact the parents were met with disdain, with the mother at some point commenting:
“Well, uncirced penises look like a turtle hiding in it’s[sic] shell. I don’t prefer them, sexually. And [father's name omitted] gets much pleasure out of sex with his circumcised penis.”
The Facebook page for the child’s battle posted that they had blocked over 300 people that day. 300 people who were concerned that this baby had suffered too much and didn’t need to be put through a circumcision in his current condition. It’s said that some activists contacted CPS out of concern of what the consequences of the surgery could be to the baby.
Then the Facebook page for the child’s battle informed that the baby “is out of surgery and recovering now. All surgeries went well, just hope that the Nissen is the correct size“.
A few hours later, the page deleted all photos and videos and was marked under construction. Pictures and videos started going back up with watermarks, and about an hour later, the page and the parents’ Facebook profiles went offline.
Attempts to find out the condition of the baby by some activists went unanswered – due to privacy laws. But then in a strange twist, the mother’s profile showed up again commenting in different places:
“If you are worried about [baby's name], instead of attacking his family on Facebook, contact us. [phone number]”
Activists who called were cursed out.
On November 11, Kosair Children’s Hospital posted on their FB page:
“In keeping with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement on circumcision, parents at Kosair Children’s Hospital are advised of the benefits and risks of the procedure, and make the decision to circumcise based upon religious, ethical and cultural beliefs. If parents do choose circumcision for their baby boy and the infant is already scheduled for a surgery, the procedure is done at the same time under anesthesia. In other instances, pain control measures are used to keep the baby comfortable.”
What they failed to mention is that the American Academy of Pediatrics clearly indicates that “Elective circumcision should be performed only if the infant’s condition is stable and healthy.”
This post was deleted about one hour later, as the intactivist community kept commenting and providing real information.
Evidently, American doctors have a difficult time realizing that they have a responsibility to their infant patient over the “beliefs” of the parents and understanding that there are times when babies are struggling to survive, when they are suffering so much, that they should do the best to spare them from any additional pain.
We wish we didn’t have to tell parents not to perform unnecessary genital alterations on their babies (our agenda), but more than that, we wish doctors were capable of policing themselves and were capable of telling parents that there are times when their babies are not good candidates for the unnecessary surgery, and this is no doubt one of those cases.
I don’t want to use any baby’s or any family’s suffering to “advance an agenda”. Some suffering is preventable, if only the medical community would be accountable and would stop enabling cultural customs at least in the cases where good sense and logic advise against them.
In my heart I wish the best for this baby. I wish that he survived and that he will heal and grow up to be the best person that he can be. That’s all I can do really.