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Deep Breaths... Need to vent and cry :(

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
A couple months ago, I started a job on the OB floor of a large hospital. I am not a nurse, but the position I work is called a "PCT" (Patient Care Technician).
It's basically a CNA, but with some extra training in certain medical procedures.
I do however, wish to get my BSN and work on the same floor and will hopefully be starting school next fall.

Anyway, when I took the job, I knew that I would be very disheartened at a lot of the things I would see. But I know in my heart that I want to continue to work there, because once I get my BSN I will be able to make a difference, even if it is difficult and emotionally draining to see some of the stuff, I feel like if I want things to change I have to actively DO something about it rather than sit around and complain about the way in the mainstream world.

Anyhow, the things I do right now are pretty minor as far as being involved in anything, I'm pretty low on the totem poll really. I mainly work in the nursery and care for the babies. I do the PKU tests and Bili checks and hearing screens, weights and vitals, stuff like that.
I do help with deliveries sometimes, holding a leg or assisting the nurse in a complicated birth, setting up the delivery table and cleaning up afterwards, etc etc etc.

Well I didn't know it at the time I was hired, but my job also entails assisting with circumcisions.
I had a 6 week training period in which I followed co-workers around before being put on my own.
I knew that I had the option of filling out an "objection" form with my boss, so that I wouldn't have to help out with them, but I decided to use my 6 weeks to decide if that's what I wanted to do.
If I were a nurse, it would be a no-brainer, I would outspokenly object. But since I'm "only" a PCT and basically a peon in all their eyes, it would not make any impact on any of them, and they would all assume it was because I just think it's "gross" and not an educated ethical decision they would respect or have an impact on them.

Gosh, this is getting long.

Anyhow, my 6 week training ended, and after observing how everything works, I decided to go ahead and assist with them.
To be clear, I don't actually take any part in the circ. I hold the sugar paci, comfort the baby, and stand by with suction and hold the head to the side to make sure the baby doesn't aspirate any vomit.
If me objecting would somehow make it more difficult for the circs to take place, I definitely would. BUT the truth is that, even if there is no one to assist, the doc is still going to do the circ w/o any assistant.
So the baby would get no sugar paci, no comforting, and if he vomited, it is unlikely that the doctor would have enough time to put down the instruments and get him suctioned in time.


It was a very difficult decision to make, and I know that there are still some who will flame me for making it. But I just feel that until I become an actual nurse, that my refusal will not make any kind of impact, and the babies will be the ones to suffer from my refusal to be there.


After explaining all that, the point of my thread is that I just need to vent and cry a little bit

I don't feel like I can talk to ANYONE about this. I'm not allowed to talk about work away from work, and I certainly can't talk to anyone AT work about it.
I just can't get over how SICK and BARBARIC this is. As I watch it happen, I can't believe I am actually seeing this happen in real life. I've seen all the videos before, but they don't even COME CLOSE to seeing this in real life. In real life you see the baby's face and the cries echoing and the coldness of the room. You feel his body straining and fighting against the board and the straps while you try to hold him still. You have to see him suffer all over again for the next 2 hours each time the nurse un-diapers him and pulls back the gauze to do the 15 minute "circ checks".
It's just so much worse than seeing a video online of a recording zoomed in only showing the genitals.

I HATE HATE HATE setting up and especially cleaning up afterwards. I hate strapping him down. Those torture boards are the sickest things ever invented. It makes me sick and I have to hold back the tears every time and profusely apologize to the precious baby boys as I do those horrid straps.

I think the very hardest part for me is when I am cleaning up, I have to remove the foreskin from the bell on the clamp. Almost all the docs use the gomco clamps and unlike the mogan where the foreskin is completely cut away from the clamp, on the gomco, you have to take your fingers and peel the foreskin off the metal and pull the ring of foreskin around and off the bell. Dear God, I don't know how I am going to find the strength to keep doing that. Every time I have to touch that mutilated skin with my fingers I literally feel like I am going to pass out and have to brace myself on the counter and make myself take deep breaths.
This is coming from someone who was an EMT for 5 years and has seen more blood and guts and brain matter than you can ever imagine. But that little piece of skin I have to peel from the metal.... It makes me want to curl up in a ball on the floor and cry and vomit

The other thing that I have a really hard time with, is seeing a "medical professional", someone who is supposed to PROTECT and HEAL, taking a scalpel to a healthy, perfect, strapped down infant and CONSCIOUSLY INFLICT INJURY and PAIN to a HELPLESS infant. This is not some emergent life saving procedure, it is not a "corrective" surgery. There is NO reason to cause such tissue trauma, agony, and risk of major complication other than to "look like daddy".
I mean, I see a lot of really sad stuff where I work. I've seen babies die, babies in the NICU struggling to live, I see women come in with a fetal demise and go through childbirth knowing their baby is dead. I've carried that tiny casket down to the morgue.
Those things are sad and difficult for me too, but it's not deeply disturbing and infuriating because I know that all these things were not intentional. Those things were all just sad events that no one had any control over. But when these doctors are taking their scalpels and clamps to these babies (who are perfect and healthy the way they are born), it is PURPOSEFUL and INTENTIONAL and at such a deep level of non-consent-- THAT is what is so much more disturbing to me than the deaths and other sad things I see.

I want to apologize that this thread is completely pointless other than just me venting (and about something I am choosing to experience, at that) but I just need to cry SOMEWHERE about this, because I can't anywhere else.
I feel that it would be selfish of me to deny those babies comfort and assistance just to save myself from the suffering I get from it, but DEAR GOD I don't know if I can keep this up :

I am seriously counting down the days I will get my RN so I can put my foot down and make a difference.

Thanks for listening if you've gotten this far... I'm so glad there is a whole forum dedicated to this so I know how many wonderful people like all of you are, so at the very least I know I'm not alone in my feelings. :

*ETA- I've gotten quite a few PM's asking if you can copy and paste. Even though I didn't make this post as such to be shared with parents, and I probably could have done a lot better job with my words if I were going to do it for that, go ahead and use it if you want to. I'm kind of surprised though, I didn't think it was that "good" or different than any of the other available nurses' stories out there.
But go ahead and copy it if you want to, it doesn't bother me other than make me a little embarrassed
post #2 of 50
OMG! Your post just made me sob. I can't imagine having to witness that day in and day out. How much longer do you have? I know that I couldn't do it. I couldn't even change my nephew's diaper in the hospital after she had him circumcised because I was so upset that she went through with it.
post #3 of 50
All I can say is wow. How much longer do you have to put up with this? As soon as you can I would put my foot down; make the stand fill out the objection and let people know how you feel. Perhaps that might get them thinking too.
post #4 of 50
Thread Starter 
It will be about 3 yrs before I get my RN
post #5 of 50
Thread Starter 
oh and the other thing I wanted to say, is that there isn't an "official" objection form.
No one else there objects to it, and there isn't any specific form for it.

It is something I would have to type up myself and hope they would accept it.
post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Ryleigh's Mommy~ View Post
oh and the other thing I wanted to say, is that there isn't an "official" objection form.
No one else there objects to it, and there isn't any specific form for it.

It is something I would have to type up myself and hope they would accept it.
I don't know perhaps you should try to opt out now. It won't stop them but it might help you. You're not in a position now where you can really help anyway since you don't interact with the parents so if there is an option to be tasked differently that might be the way to go. Personally, I couldn't do this myself I wouldn't have done the training either (assuming it could be avoided).
post #7 of 50


At least those babies have someone there that cares that something so wrong is happening to them and is comforting them. I hope you can find a way to end the practice at your hospital.
post #8 of 50
You poor, poor, poor lady. I'm sobbing here, for the babies, and for YOU!!!

I have a circed son. I made a conscious decision to have him circed. I argued with the doctors(because they know nothing anyway) about having this done-because ever male that was uncirced in my family had to BE circed at 8yrs old. SO- being in my 21yr old infinate wisdom, argued with the doc because they didn't want to do it.

I take comfort knowing that the nurse (cna as well) that was there to care for Jake during his procediure was LOVING, KIND, and GENTLE with him. She talked with me for a while about it. She like you , HATED this part of the job with a passion, however she knew that someone had to love the babies even through the absolute worst.


I hope no one flames you. I hope people realize that you are HONESTLY working through HELL to help when you can.



I'm so sorry for your pain. Do you have an EAP? employee assistance program, that allows you to get in with a counselor for free and annomously(sp)??? Is there some counseling that you could seek to help you deal with this? You really sound like you need it. HUGS, and hang in there!

From the mom of two little boys, one CIRCED, one INTACT.............THANK YOU.
post #9 of 50
Talk to your manager. Let him/her know that assisting in a circ makes you very uncomfortable and emotionally you can't handle it. All NM's aren't evil, a lot of them are really there to help you out. You're not just some random PCT, you're a member of the staff and you deserve the same respect as the RN's. You help the RN's get their work done and that is invaluable.

You might have to trade another PCT (you do their clean ups/stocking/vitals if they assist with the circ's) in order to get by. First thing I learned in nursing school was "The key to nursing is being flexible." You can work around it. Talk to your manager, figure something out.
post #10 of 50
That is so sad.
post #11 of 50


I can so identify with your pain. I, too, work in a position similar to yours -- right now just on peds, but I am cross-training to nursery and L&D later this month. I am a nursing student with CNM aspirations. I am very much anti-circ. I can't see routine male newborn circ as anything other than non-consentual genital mutilation. I am fortunate in that my regular shift is 3-11 and they don't do circs on evenings, but I'm pretty sure that I will be trained to assist when I do my day shift orientation. For a while I thought I'd just say no, that I have philosophical objections to the procedure and will do anything else for anyone else so they can be free to assist. But, I have found myself able to feed formula to babies when I felt strongly that mom should be breastfeeding them instead, so I thought maybe that I'd be able to deal with circs. But now, after reading your post, I'm not so sure. As an RN I know I'd refuse to help with them, but as an aide I don't know what difference it would make. I feel I need to get hired as an OB/nurse RN first, then make my objection known. At any rate, my heart goes out to you and I hope you're able to find your peace with this dilemma. It is one I, too, will be facing very soon.
post #12 of 50
I think you have to take into account how this is going to effect you. 3 years is a long time.

So many people think that circ is more 'ethical' or less painful now. Often the response to the videos out there on the web is.. that isn't happening today.

But it is.

Jessica
post #13 of 50
I really think that you need to post this on the internet on a more mainstream site, somewhere that people "on the fence" can read it and be touched by it. You will be anonymous. You may change some lives.

Bless you. I can't even imagine how hard that would be.
post #14 of 50


Your story is so painful to read.

Contact Night_Nurse . She is a member here and frequents CAC often with incredible insight. Super smart mama, she is.

She has been in your situation, if I'm remembering correctly.

Okay,

I'm going to ask you to PLEASE report these doctors to the State Medical Board. You can do this anonymously.

Witnessing even ONE live circumcision is enough to make a sane person go INSANE either induced by the pain you're going through [I'd want to run too] or it triggers [certain brain chemical] which promotes an addictive response to "want to do it again". Some call it a "spiritual high" - something Jeffery Dahmer said once in an interview with [I forget, A&E?].

Anyways, thats probably extreme but I don't doubt it exists. Why else would it continue?

If you say NO that YOU WILL NOT be apart of this atrocity. You could very well create a chain reaction to get the others who are struggling as well to stand up and say no with you.

Your reality, for me, is hard to fully understand. I can dream up dramatic ways for you to escape and save the babies till the cows come home. I know you think NOT being with the baby is worse than the alternative.

Contact Marlyn Milos. She taped the next torture session she witnessed and showed the families as a form of Informed Consent. She got fired, but that was awhile ago. I bet you could get away with that nowadays.

Speak to others you work with. Gather a riot girl!

easier said than done, I know.
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkTrance View Post
I really think that you need to post this on the internet on a more mainstream site, somewhere that people "on the fence" can read it and be touched by it. You will be anonymous. You may change some lives.

Bless you. I can't even imagine how hard that would be.
To the OP, this is a good idea I think I might know where we could get something like this posted (separate from where I previously mentioned) that could garner it a bit of attention. PM me if you are interested and we can give it a try.
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitful womb View Post


Your story is so painful to read.

Contact Night_Nurse . She is a member here and frequents CAC often with incredible insight. Super smart mama, she is.

She has been in your situation, if I'm remembering correctly.

Okay,

I'm going to ask you to PLEASE report these doctors to the State Medical Board. You can do this anonymously.

Witnessing even ONE live circumcision is enough to make a sane person go INSANE either induced by the pain you're going through [I'd want to run too] or it triggers [certain brain chemical] which promotes an addictive response to "want to do it again". Some call it a "spiritual high" - something Jeffery Dahmer said once in an interview with [I forget, A&E?].

Anyways, thats probably extreme but I don't doubt it exists. Why else would it continue?

If you say NO that YOU WILL NOT be apart of this atrocity. You could very well create a chain reaction to get the others who are struggling as well to stand up and say no with you.

Your reality, for me, is hard to fully understand. I can dream up dramatic ways for you to escape and save the babies till the cows come home. I know you think NOT being with the baby is worse than the alternative.

Contact Marlyn Milos. She taped the next torture session she witnessed and showed the families as a form of Informed Consent. She got fired, but that was awhile ago. I bet you could get away with that nowadays.

Speak to others you work with. Gather a riot girl!

easier said than done, I know.
: to all of that. I don't know how you do it. I would go, not at all quietly, insane!
post #17 of 50
the other thing you could do to help change is to insist that hospital has a humane policy w informed consent in place and follows it
that the boys wont be comforted if you cant be there is ridiculous AND parentswould be outraged
post #18 of 50
Wow, your story is heart wrenching but I feel as though it could make a difference. For one, anyone of us could copy and paste it to show friends/family what someone who is in a mostly objective position goes through. I'm sorry you are having to go through this. It must be so hard, especially after you've pointed out all the grusome things you have see but this is so different, it's so pointless. Glad you found an outlet for your feelings. You deserve to be able to talk about this.
post #19 of 50
I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. When my second son was in the nursery for jaundice, I heard them doing circumcisions and just hearing it was enough to make my blood run cold... i can't imagine seieng it.

The one thing that concerns me about your post is the thought that you may become desensitized over time, as an involuntary protective strategy. I think you should act now before you just get used to it
post #20 of 50
Holding my newly born baby boy in a sling and looking at his sweet face as he sleeps snugged against my body .....it's a really horrendous reality to think that this happens to babies today...still.

Your post was very difficult to read. I really want to close the thread and pretend that I didn't read this but I can't.

While it's the parents that select to have this done to their children, it doesn't happen without the medical personel's willingness. While you think you have no power now, I suspect you may. There have to be others who feel the same way you do but who are silent about it. I think your voice is important. I also believe that by passively participating in the process you are passively approving of it.

I think that the people that are close to this have turned themselves off to the horror of it. One has to in order to keep participating. I don't think dealing with this amongst your coworkers is an effective place to address it because they are numb and in denial I suspect.

What impact would it have to record, either video or simply voice recording, the procedure and take it to the medical ethics board or patient advicate or another high level of administration? I see two issues here. The horrendous nature of the procedure and how it impacts the infant and the emotional damage it does to those who participate with it. You have a right to work in a job environment that does not leave you with post traumatic stress disorder.

I also question how effective you will be as a RN in swaying the opinion of parents regarding circ. I've read many posts about how nurses are to care for parents and follow doctors orders. Your job is not to educate parents to not do procedures which are lucrative for the doctors and hospitals. I think you will find your hands tied just as much as a RN as you do now.
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