I had to go to the doctor recently for a suspected hernia. My regular GP was on holiday, and I was somewhat surprised when this very pleasant young lady walked into the room asking what she could do for me.
While she was in that "area", I took the opportunity to express my extreme disappointment and life long distress at having been circumcised. This is more or less how the conversation went:
Her: "I am sorry you are not happy with your circumcision. Was it botched?"
" I would not call it botched, but all circumcisions cause so much damage, both physicaly and psychologicaly. I am not looking for sympathy. I just want to see the procedure stopped.
Her: "Well, we try to give parents balanced information".
"But the penis in question belongs to the baby, not the parents. It should be his choice."
Her: "From studies in Africa it appears that there is a slight reduction in the acquisition of STDs, but not enough to warrant circumcision. Consistent use of condoms would be much better"
"There are many who would refute those studies. The U.S. has the highest rate of infant circumcision and also the highest rate of HIV in the developed world. If you hacked pieces off your daughter, or even your dog, you would likely end up in jail".
Her: "You are probably right!"
I would have loved to have an in depth conversation with her, but they only allot 10 minutes to a visit, and unfortunately I will probably never see her again. But what disappointed me was that this is Canada. RIC is not that common here any more, and she is young and up to date. Where does this "balanced information" come from? I would like to think that smart young doctors like her would actively discourage parents from circumcising their sons.
Well, there is that, but if you're a doctor and daily are faced with parents who are extremely pro-circ, what are you going to do, argue with all of them? You have to approach people where they are and give them information that is respectful of their position, even if it's one you think is wrong. I wonder what specifically she means by "balanced information". Her statement about the pros and cons of circ doesn't sound very pro-circ to me, but if worded a bit differently it's not disrespectful of those who choose to circ either, so maybe that is what she means by "balanced information". If a parent has always assumed they would circ their son and never question it, the most she as a doctor can do is plant a seed of doubt and hope it germinates. If she gets up in their face they are going to feel defensive, dismiss what she's saying, and find a different doctor.
If doctors actually say that circumcision is not in the child's best interest, then fewer parents would authorize it. And that would cut into the profits the doctor makes from performing the circumcision. The best way to get doctors to tell the truth about circumcision is to have the docs do it free of charge. No reimbursement from the insurance, or government. As long as they get paid to do it, and with so many in society believing it's hard to keep clean, etc, circumcision will remain an "option".
Where in Canada? The circ rate in her clinic is probably already pretty low; she likely sees intact baby boys all the time.
The best thing a doctor can do to lower the circ rate is refuse to perform circs. They don't need to convince anyone of circumcision's harm if it's just not an option to get it done.
I live in a pretty small town in Canada and there are only two doctors here who perform circumcisions, neither of which are actually in the hospital. You have to make a special trip and pay like $500. Very few people do it here, and it can't hurt that many doctors just won't perform the surgery.
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