What's a botched circumcision worth to you? A 5-year-old who suffered damage from his circumcision has been awarded $1.3 million. The boy was just 12 hours old when the doctor who performed the procedure amputated the tip of his penis. Doctors at another hospital were able to reattach the tip, and the penis is expected to be fully functional. But there's scarring and the possibility of nerve damage.
So remind me again -- why do we circumcise baby boys?
Okay, I know this is a highly controversial issue. People circumcise for religious reasons -- I get that. And there are some health benefits, supposedly. But I still just do not get it. I chose not to circumcise my son even though that meant he wouldn't look like his father. (Whatever! They both still have penises. Isn't that enough?) And without getting into who or why, I have actually seen a circumcision-damaged penis up close. The very top was nicked, and it's a bit uneven. I suspect that mistake is maybe a little more common than we think. The guy's parents just weren't the type to sue over it.
One of the lawyers for the boy's parents says, "The truth is, it is the oldest surgical procedure known to man ..." (I just want to interject here that the Aztecs were performing brain surgery 7,000 years ago, but that's beside the point) "... and the most common one performed on baby boys in America. If this was truly a known risk, then nobody would dare have a circumcision." I wonder if that's true? Do parents know that there's a small risk of injury in routine circumcision? And if they do, does that affect their decision, or do they figure everything will be all right?
I just think it's funny that this organ we as a culture all seem to worship gets snipped within the first few hours of so many little boys' lives. Are we taking the penis for granted? Trying to control it? How did this practice even get started? I'll stop short of calling it barbaric, but really. What the hell, circumcision?
Are you aware that accidents are a risk of routine circumcision?
Image via Markus/Flickr