This is indeed a sad case and the pathetic thing about it is it was a result of a needless and contra-indicated cosmetic surgical procedure that continues to be performed more than 3,000 times a day. This is presented as the exception to the rule but it happens on a regular basis every year. The man who did this to David, Dr. Kenneth Glasberg of Johns-Hopkins Medical Center still supports circumcision and gender reassignment even after the experience with David. As a matter of fact, despite several negative studies and intense criticism from the victims of gender reassignment, he still strongly advocates reassignment at the earliest possible opportunity for the victims of botched circumcision and ambigious genitalia. He is a loose cannon in this area because he is dealing with parents who are at a very susceptible time in their life and don't have the benefit of the knowledge that Glasberg knows all too well. They don't know the keywords to mount an internet search. Even though there is a show that has been produced about it and even though it has shown on ABC, NBC, PBS, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Learning Channel and The Discovery Health Channel, many of those who need the information most are not watching those channels but instead are watching sit-coms or reality shows. The information never gets to them. They are at the mercy of the likes of Glasberg who intentionally ignores research to the contrary and recommends and insists on performing this gender changing surgery at their most vulnerable moment. That is unethical in the extreme and Glasberg should lose his license to practice.
However, American medicine just doesn't work like that. The authorities who have jurisdiction over cases like this refuse to do anything and it is up to the individual to bring suit against those who harm them. Bringing suit is a very expensive proposition even if you can find an attorney who will take the case on a contingency basis. The plaintiff still has to pay all of the court costs and investigative fees up front as well as the cost of expert witnesses, etc. David was not a wealthy man and worked a hourly job. With a family, I doubt he could muster the funds to punish Glasberg and so he gets off scot-free.
This is at a time when doctors are intensely lobbying state legislatures and Congress for a cap on medical malpractice awards. The figure most often bandied about is $250,000.00. That sounds like a lot of money to a lot of us but to an insurance company, it is not a lot. What this does is reduce the possible award to a point that most lawyers will not take cases on a contingincy basis because there is not enough money reward possible. They also know that with this cap, it will have the effect of reducing all jury awards further distancing the medical profession from responsibility. David Reimer would not have been even remotely adequately compensated for what he has been through. How much is a man's life worth? What was he worth to his wife and children? What value would he put on the ability to sire his own children and spread his genes into eternity? Certainly more than $250,000.00.
Even though their own medical fraternities have had official position statements against circumcision for more than 30 years, these unethical practitioners still actively solicit the procedure and still down play the risks to make parents think they are practically non-existant. How many lives have to be lost or ruined and how many men have to have their sexual lives devastated before we hold them to task and make them accept responsibility? By carefully hiding the truth and by carefully couching their advice to new parents, they have avoided prosecution and responsibility for their deeds. That's going to end some day and we all have a part in making it happen. Some day, there will be a massive class action suit against all medical providers who have performed the procedure and there will be hel* to pay. It can't come soon enough! Too many lives have already been devastated and too many lives have been lost.