The need for extreme care

So here’s a zany suggestion – people should stop cutting off bits of infants’ penises in the comfort and danger of their own homes.

The trial of nurse Grace Adeleye who carried out the circumcision on Goodluck Caubergs heard that up to three children a month are admitted to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital because of bleeding after home-based

That’s a beautiful old tradition. Don’t you think it’s beautiful?

Manchester-based solicitors JMW are currently investigating a separate case of a family from West Sussex who claim their son was left in “excruciating pain” after a home circumcision.

The doctor involved in the case said the redness and swelling her son experienced was a normal part of the healing process.

So he’s in pain! So what! It’s a beautiful old tradition. Shut up about the redness and swelling.

About five days after the circumcision she said the swelling on her son’s penis started increasing and he was in “excruciating pain”.

She said she took him to her GP who prescribed antibiotics for an infection.

The mother said she contacted the doctor who performed the circumcision who said she should wait three weeks for the skin to heal.

Her doctor said: “In my leaflet and at the time I went to do the circumcision I did explain redness and swelling is normal in healing, that it will go away in two weeks but it can happen.”

So the baby’s in pain for two weeks! So what! It makes God happy.

Melissa Gardner, a specialist medical negligence solicitor at JMW, said: “Given the impact on their child, the family has significant concerns about the way the procedure was conducted.

“While it is too soon to know what the long-term effects will be, this case highlights the need for extreme care when performing circumcisions.”

Wait wait wait wait, I have a fabulous idea, I’m so glad I thought of it –

Don’t cut the infant’s penis at all.

Isn’t that perfect? No need for extreme care, because no cutting of the penis!

I think it will catch on.


  1. says

    Again illustrating why circumcision — regardless of the reason for it — should only ever be done by qualified medical professionals, in a sterile surgical setting, with proper anesthesia, pain control, aftercare and follow-up.

    As for circumcision itself, I think that the decision ought to be up to the parents, because it’s really none of my damn business what other people do with their genitals.

  2. says


    ….it’s really none of my damn business what other people do with their genitals.

    Is exactly why it should be left up to the person attached to the genitals.

  3. Robert B. says

    I know I’m kinda jumping on a bandwagon here, WMDKitty. But did you read what you wrote there? It rather implies that children’s genitals belong to their parents. That’s… profoundly creepy, actually, and I wonder if you would actually agree with what you seem to have said.

  4. says

    @RobertB — Parents make medical decisions for their children ALL THE TIME. I don’t see any difference here, as circumcision is a medical procedure. Legally, the child is, in fact “owned” by the parent, unless and until the parent does something that is deemed dangerous to the child’s well-being. This is the legal and medical reality. If you’re going to argue that the child’s consent matters, don’t bother, because a) children cannot legally give consent to anything; and b) we do a metric fuckton of other stuff to children, without their consent, some of which do have permanent, life and body-altering effects. But you don’t see people campaigning to end infant ear-piercing (something I find barbaric), or to end routine tonsillectomies or appendectomies (both of which were routinely done as a preventive measure when I was growing up).

    As long as the parents are responsible for making medical decisions for the child, YES, that child’s body essentially belongs to them, genitals included. Because — and I know someone’s gonna go there — the child is not able to consent to anything until they turn 18 and reach legal adulthood, and therefore dependent upon the parent to make the decision that they think is best for the child. BECAUSE of this, there are some things that society has determined are harmful enough to the child — rape, molestation, other physical, sexual, or mental abuse, neglect — that they must be removed from the parent(s) for health and safety reasons. Oddly enough, “making medical decisions in the best interest of the child” doesn’t make the cut. (…oh. No pun intended, there.)

  5. Maureen Brian says

    The parent doesn’t own the child. The parent has responsibility for the child with the same need as any other adult to ensure that what is done is in the child’s best interest – only more so. That’s what international law says and most countries now conform to that standard.

    Only rarely is circumcision a medical procedure, in the sense that it is medically necessary. In that case we would expect it to be done in a hospital, by a specialist and with a full set of facilities available. The rest of the time it’s a tribal ritual, as is ear piercing in some communities.

  6. Ste says

    @WMDKitty, it’s not a medical procedure it’s mutilation. Body modification at best. It’s more like tattooing a baby than getting its tonsils removed.

  7. Didaktylos says

    It’s very simple – purely elective procedures should not be performed on those under the age of majority.

  8. TGAP Dad says

    For FSM’s sake, are we going to start this whole idiotic circumcision debate up again?
    The original point in the post was, in succinct terms, performing surgical procedures at home with unqualified practitioners under non-sterile conditions due to tradition or religion is stupid? Then we had to divert down the “never cut a penis at all” path.

    Both WHO and UNAIDS recognize the benefit of circumcision in reducing the incidence of AIDS. Other data indicate a possibility that it diminishes the transmissability of HPV. That being the case, the procedure is best done in infancy when the side effects are short and manageable and recovery is swift.

    There are no data – none – to indicate that circumcision performed in infancy has any long-term effects on sexual performance, satisfaction or dysfunction.

    To summarize: circumcision performed by proper medical personnel under proper surgical conditions reduces the risk of AIDS, possibly HPV, and has no long-term consequences or side-effects.

    Either believe data and facts, or give Jenny McCarthy a call.

  9. says

    Except the data is really rather mixed TGAP dad especially as to how well a routine circumcision program would effect HIV rates at the population level. At the very least outside of Africa there is probably a better pay off to education and social change (promoting condoms, safe sex, testing etc) then in circumcision.

  10. says

    It makes God happy.

    I always find it amusing that this god who is supposedly so perfect fucked up so badly on what is supposed to be the crown jewel of his creation (man, not the penis) that he has to require his followers to fix his mistake for him. It apparently took him quite a while to realise his mistake too: according to this guy it took 19 generations…

  11. Tracey says

    So, circumcision is the great protector against HIV? How peculiar, then, that HIV exploded in the US population in the late 1970s/early 1980s, when virtually all the male population was circumcised. How could that possibly have happened?

    And how could HIV infection rates be so very much less in Europe and the UK, where circumcision is not the norm?

    Gosh, it almost seems as if the claim that ripping off a newborn infant’s prepuce will innoculate him against getting HIV 20-some-odd years later is…pure BUNK!

  12. says

    WMDkitty @13
    And you also said that parent should be allowed to choose to have it done, which is the part that we have a problem with. Incidentally, I also disapprove of routine tonsilectomies and appendectomies, and current mediacl standards agree, AFA+ICT. I also support banning infant ear piercing, since you brought that one up earlier. Kids can wear clip-ons if they want earrings until they reach the age of consent.

  13. Acolyte of Sagan says

    I’m with WMDkitty here – if I read her correctly, that is. It’s patently obvious that there is no ban on circumcision looming on the horizon, so if they absolutely have to do it then there should be legal safeguards put in place, and by far the safest option would be to ensure that circumcision is re-classified as a surgical procedure, so that, in line with any other surgical procedure it is to be performed only by a qualified medical surgeon under surgical conditions.

  14. TGAP Dad says

    @2 Tracey:
    I am not an epidemiologist. I am not even a scientist. I am a science geek. People who ARE scientists are reaching a consensus that circumcision makes HIV less transmissible. The data are convincing enough for UNAIDS and WHO to recommend it, even for adults who will endure a more difficult recovery. The plain fact is that the procedure, when done in infancy under proper conditions, has no negative impact on the patients who get it. None. No diminution of sexual function, pain, or reduced fertility.

    As to why the incidence of AIDS erupted he way it did is not my area of expertise. If I were a scientist, I would look at the first identifiable case and go from there. There are many variables to consider: transmissibility, exposure levels, differential rates of transmission due to different sexual habits, rates of IV drug use, availability of clean needles, contamination of the blood supply. I would want to consider only cases where means of infection other than vaginal intercourse had been eliminated, and look at the exposure levels.

    Your (unconfirmed) assertion that European rates of infection are a negative indicative of circumcision’s efficacy doesn’t hold water, even if your major premise is true. It doesn’t even rise to the level of correlation. After all, what is the rate of circumcision in Africa, where AIDS has really taken off? Asia? The Middle East? What is the typical number of sexual partners in these places? Needle sharing? Homosexual encounters? Blood transfusions? Universal precautions? How likely is it for a heterosexual adult, who has not gotten blod transfusions and is not an IV drug user, in these places with an average of 6 partners between the ages of 16 and 25 to have gotten infected? How about the differences in the circumcised and uncircumcised subgroups?

    I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, and I wouldn’t have the skills or knowledge to collect and analyze the appropriate data. I know this. That’s why I pay attention to scientists who have done this difficult work. They have done this work, and have concluded, not unanimously, that circumcision helps the situation.

    You have apparently adopted a position that all of that is not true. So studies which contradict that opinion become fuel for your “contradiction data” argument. This is what the climate change deniers and anti-vaxers do. You can accept the data, and their logical conclusions, or you can cling to your dogma.

  15. Robert Bauer says

    WMDKitty, how big a piece do you have to cut off your baby until it counts as “dangerous to the child’s well-being”? For that matter, why is it that you think preventative tonsilectomies and appendectomies are barbaric, but still support the rights of parents to perform this other poorly-evidenced preventative amputation on unconsenting children? Especially since any medical virtue circumcision may have had has been obsolete since the invention of the condom.

    Parents do not own their children, parents are responsible for their children. There is an ENORMOUS difference. Ownership is for the benefit of the owner, while responsibility is for the benefit of the one protected.

  16. says

    The AIDS nonsense is ridiculous. The vectors by which an infant boy would acquire AIDS have nothing to do with his genitals. When he is old enough to start having sex on his own, he is old enough to make the decision for himself whether or not to get circumcised.

  17. 'dirigible says

    “Parents make medical decisions for their children ALL THE TIME.”

    Let’s not compare mutilation fetishists to antivaxxers.

    Oh alright then, if you insist.

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