Hospital Acquired Infections and Circumcision

Recently, we discussed the warnings from the director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, as she gave a sobering Keynote address at a conference about the crisis of Antibiotic Resistant Infections in Copenhagen, Denmark. In that post, we learned of the severity and extent of our modern day plague.

Circumcision rates are steadily declining in the United States, but not drastically enough. Drug resistant bacteria is such a tremendously looming issue, that in Hawaii Medical Journal one author noted that the infant “has enough portals of entry for organisms as it is. It seems totally unnecessary to aid and abet lurking bacteria by adding a raw wound to his genitalia.”

In a special statement released by Doctors Opposing Circumcision, the very significant risk of completely unwarranted circumcision is stressed:

The advent of MRSA in epidemic proportions increases risks associated with male neonatal circumcision beyond those previously contemplated and further increases the desirability of the non-circumcision option. MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant varieties of SA, such as vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA), increase risk, including death, to newborn circumcised boys. In view of this increased risk, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists should review their policy (2002) of offering elective medically unnecessary non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision at parental request.

Knowing that circumcision is an elective surgery with little if any benefits, I can not fathom why elective circumcision on our boys is even allowed anymore.

Seriously.

Putting aside the long term implications that removing a part of a boy’s sex organ has on its proper functioning, given the nature of hospital acquired infections these days and their ability to resist even IV antibiotics, why are we still cutting our boys?

Basic human rights set aside, while circumcision may be a common surgery, it is an invasive one leaving a large wound given at a hospital that shares a diaper space with feces. Should that wound get infected, are we really that comfortable with the strength of our antibiotics to expose our littlest babies to this elective surgery?

Bacteria is so resistant to antibiotics these days that infections regularly require  much stronger antibiotics than the infections when we were children required.  When my daughter was very young, I was told she needed antibiotics. I’ve mentioned this before. It was from a skin infection which resulted from her atopic dermatitis. After two weeks of antibiotics didn’t quite clear the issue up, we had to extend out the prescription. But first, before we could do that, we had to test her liver functioning to make sure her liver was still able to handle them. She was only six months old! Our antibiotics are so strong these days that our children getting a yeast infection as a consequence is the least of our concerns.

Why would we risk these outcomes simply to circumcise our sons?

I’m not saying these things to pass judgement on people who have circumcised their sons. I have mentioned on a few occasions that one of my biggest regrets in life is allowing my son to be circumcised in 2001, so I’m certainly not pointing fingers. I just want to make sure people realize that hospital acquired infection really does happen, and community acquired infection isn’t that far behind in drug resistance.

It’s not worth it. Whatever the reasons ladies, circumcision just really is not worth it. The risks are becoming way too high.

 

Further reading:

www.circumcision.org

Doctors Opposing Circumcision

 

11 Comments

  1. Mommy of 2

    Just to point something out: my brother-in-law was not circumcised as an infant and later, as a toddler, started having foreskin-related problems. His parents ended up having to circumcise an active toddler boy, instead of an infant whose circumcision is much easier to take proper care of. It was pretty miserable, from what I heard. To keep from possibly having to go through that problem again, my in-laws circumcised the rest of their boys as infants. My husband doesn’t harbor any resentment or ill will toward his parents for that. Infection certainly is a distinct possibility, but so is a car accident on the way to the grocery store. I understand your reasoning and I fully support your freedom to make such decisions for your children, but I do not think it fair to declare that it isn’t worth it, whatever the reason… and I’m pretty sure my brother-in-law would agree.

    • Dawn

      Many boys have issues with their foreskins because parents are taught to force retract it to clean it. This is improper technique. It should NEVER ever be retracted until it retracts on its own.

    • What were the so-called “foreskin related problems” your brother-in-law had? Could you name them? Can you get a hold of his medical record?

      Just to point something out: A lot of foreskin related “problems” are actually iatrogenically caused. Especially in America, where doctors are willfully ignorant about normal intact genitalia, doctors often advise parents to forcibly rip back the foreskin “for cleaning.” This is actually hurtful to the child, as it can cause infection and the “problems” you speak about. Problems that don’t exist in countries where normal, intact genitals such as the norm. There is no epidemic of “foreskin related problems” in any country in Europe, where circumcision is rare, for example. I’m quite sure your brother-in-law was circumcised without necessity, and his parents were duped by money-hungry doctors.

      You say: “His parents ended up having to circumcise an active toddler boy, instead of an infant whose circumcision is much easier to take proper care of.”

      This is false. Circumcision is not “easier” to take care of in any situation. It is much “easier” to circumcise a smaller child, but abuse is always easier in smaller, weaker children.

      The current standard of pediatric care dictates that surgery should be reserved as a last resort, when all other methods of treatment have been tried and failed. You don’t perform a surgery “because it’s easy to do.” This is simply ignorant.

      “It was pretty miserable, from what I heard.”

      Appeal to emotions.

      No surgery is a walk in the park. Again, the question is medical necessity.

      “To keep from possibly having to go through that problem again, my in-laws circumcised the rest of their boys as infants.”

      Instead of researching the “problem” further?

      “My husband doesn’t harbor any resentment or ill will toward his parents for that.”

      You will find most women who were circumcised as children don’t either.

      You are missing the point.

      “Infection certainly is a distinct possibility, but so is a car accident on the way to the grocery store.”

      There is certainly a necessity to go to the grocery store. How is surgery necessary in a healthy, non-consenting individual?

      “I understand your reasoning and I fully support your freedom to make such decisions for your children, but I do not think it fair to declare that it isn’t worth it, whatever the reason… and I’m pretty sure my brother-in-law would agree.”

      Here is an interesting fact; The trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West.

      It should strike people as odd that there isn’t enough evidence for any major medical organization to endorse the practice of infant circumcision, and yet parents are expected to weigh this same “evidence” and somehow come up with a better conclusion.

      Not only is it fair to declare that circumcision isn’t worth it; Dawn is actually factually correct, and the whole of Western medicine agrees.

      The Bottom Line
      The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails. The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, functioning tissue, with which all boys are born.

      Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting individual is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

      Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individual, much less be eliciting any kind of “decision” from parents.

      Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

      It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

      I’m afraid your brother-in-law may have been mutilated for absolutely no reason at all.

    • Frank

      I know this one guy who knew this one guy who wasn’t cut and his foreskin ate him alive…blah blah blah. Do you want me to give you a list of all the women I know who have had problems with their bits and pieces? Do we chop stuff off before it happens? It’s ridiculous. Those poor men in Europe.

      • Dawn

        Agreed Frank. I’ve had three UTIs myself, of course, those were from the tube shoved up there during labor, but even still… That’s pretty much the same as boys getting infections because of routine forced retraction in my mind. They work they way they’re supposed to when they’re not messed with.

    • Tdodd

      Using your anecdote as a reason to support routine circumcision is a wide stretch. The reality is that no medical association in the world supports routine circumcisions. No one is arguing against performing it it’s medically necessary. It is also a devastating when performed on neonates too, let’s not kid ourselves.

      • Dawn

        I read about a doctor who hooked a baby being circumcised up to some kind of device that monitored brain waves. And when the circumcision was being performed the levels were super elevated and never returned down. She said that it was like PTSD. I wish I could find that article. If any of you guys reading this know the one I’m talking about, I would love to have that link in my Evernotes Account for future reference.

  2. Helen

    THIS is why I fought my husband and didn’t allow my son to be circumcised. He had already developed a life-threatening staph infection during his NICU stay, which entered his body through the cut for his chest tube (which, unlike infant circumcision, had really been needed). After that, there was NO WAY I was going to allow an uneccessary cut into his tiny, immune-compromised little body. Nope.

  3. Dawn is merely pointing out fact.

    There is no reason to shoot the messenger.

    The fact of the matter is that the trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West.

    It should strike people as odd that there isn’t enough evidence for any major medical organization to endorse the practice of infant circumcision, and yet parents are expected to weigh this same “evidence” and somehow come up with a better conclusion.

    When we know better, we do better.

    Think it possible; doctors are taking advantage of parental naivete to commit medical fraud.

    I don’t think parents are to blame; I think parents have the best interest of their children at heart.

    But remember, doctors also have their own interests, and it may not necessarily be your child’s well-being, but only his own.

    Are you being fully informed?

    Wake up people!

    With the advent of the internet, information is not as hard to come by as it once was.

    There are better, more effective ways to prevent disease.

    A good parent seeks them out and looks for ways to avert, not intentionally cause pain for their children.

    Peace.

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