Looking At Abuse of Children Under 1 year. - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-04-2008, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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An interesting bit of information in the news today, researchers have been looking at how abuse of children may effect their mental and psychological development. Of particular focus is on abuse of children under 1 year, both neglect and physical. (And here I thought they wouldn't remember it)

"Child Abuse Dials Up the Volume on Pain
Pain Processing in the Brain Is Affected by a History of Abuse"

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Health/Pai...4584659&page=1
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A recent study revealed a physiological connection between child abuse and feelings of intense pain.
Doesn't this quite remind you of the study that showed circumcised boys react more strongly to pain, such as vaccination?

http://news.google.com/nwshp?tab=wn&...&hl=en&topic=m
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Old 04-04-2008, 03:37 PM
 
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Well how do we disconnect circumcision from any other operation someone may have as a baby or young child? Is the difference that in most circumcisions pain blockers are not used, and that is what causes the possible mental scarring?
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Old 04-04-2008, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well how do we disconnect circumcision from any other operation someone may have as a baby or young child? Is the difference that in most circumcisions pain blockers are not used, and that is what causes the possible mental scarring?
You do pose an interesting question which leads to why I don't necessarily think that the physical pain should be a substantial leg on which we stand. Rather it is more an issue of the ethics and loss.

The ethics is where the disconnect occurs all other operations which you might cite are done only for actual medical need (sometimes to correct a birth defect which is a separate issue all together) and are often deferred until full anesthesia can be administered. Of course deferring a circumcision until full anesthesia can be administered doesn't change the ethics of the act.

To your second point since it is true that many circumcisions are performed without any or less than adequate pain blockers, it has been hypothesized that it leads to some level of psychological trauma. Somewhere in the literature, and hopefully someone will post it, there was a study that showed circumcised boys reacted worse to vaccination (cried harder, longer though I am not really sure how it was measured). Some believed the circumcision was the cause others of course didn't citing that children wouldn't remember something occurring that early in their life. Perhaps a fully anesthetized circumcision would prevent that but again it doesn't change the ethics.

I just found this research interesting in that they are starting to look at such early childhood trauma, even to the first week of life, and trying to connect it to behavior problems. Of course nowhere do the articles discuss circumcision.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:18 PM
 
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I agree, the ethical issue is the key issue. Its also one of the hardest angle to argue with some people because its almost the reverse of americas cultural perspective on the "tradition".

But I still think its a better argument then this, because I believe a parent who hears this argument and already wants to circ, all its going to do is make them think "well, we will make sure to use a pain blocker then."

As horrible as it sounds, I think the best argument to use is fear and uncertainty, seeing as thats why many circ in the first place. Fight fire with fire as they say. Tell them, well who knows what the boy will actually want. Or that there is nothing wrong with his penis now, but who knows what can happen after performing surgery. Just get one random parent emailing them their story about a botched circ, and it will really make those new parents think twice.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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So that's why DS is so tough? I knew there would be downside somewhere to leaving him intact....My boy thinks he's bullet proof.
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Old 04-04-2008, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree, the ethical issue is the key issue. Its also one of the hardest angle to argue with some people because its almost the reverse of americas cultural perspective on the "tradition".
Actually, I think the ethical argument is both the strongest and the easiest to argue. It depends on your audience though. The way I see it there are three cases:
  1. Physicians
  2. Secular Parents
  3. Non-Secular Parents

Putting the ethical argument to a physician is easy as pie. It's so clear it's deafening. Physicians have an obligation to provide competent necessary care particularly when the patient is not able to consent to the procedure. Necessary care translates to medically therapeutic. At this point it is easiest to differ to the Canadian medical ethicist, Dr. Margaret Somerville, who said: "A common error made by those who want to justify infant male circumcision on the basis of medical benefits is that they believe that as long as some such benefits are present, circumcision can be justified as therapeutic, in the sense of preventive health care. This is not correct. A medical-benefits or "therapeutic" justification requires that:
  1. The overall the medical benefits should outweigh the risks and harms of the procedure required to obtain them.
  2. That this procedure is the only reasonable way to obtain these benefits.
  3. That these benefits are necessary to the well-being of the child.
None of these conditions is fulfilled for routine infant male circumcision."

Basically, no matter what excuse is dredged up there is almost always a less invasive, more practical method of gaining any benefit associated with circumcision. Whether that is taking the occasional shower, wearing a condom, or needing a round of ABX. So there is really no excuse, from an ethical perspective, for physicians to continue the practice.

A similar argument can be applied to the parents. I would expect parents to only provide necessary intervention as it were but I agree it might be a harder sell for them. I am not really sure what approach would work better and it's still a good sell. Of course if the physicians are applying proper ethics and aren't doing it, it makes it harder for even the most determined parent to circumcise their boys.

Non-secular parents are a completely different story. They are typically using a ritual circumciser who are not bound by medical ethics so documenting the harms probably goes further. The ethical perspective (that of choice) isn't entirely out of the picture though; indeed that is the whole basis of Eli's film. So it can work on all levels.

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Originally Posted by perspective View Post
But I still think its a better argument then this, because I believe a parent who hears this argument and already wants to circ, all its going to do is make them think "well, we will make sure to use a pain blocker then."
Agreed, it is too easy to skirt the pain issue. It can be an effective approach but should be more of a supporting argument and not really the core one.

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Originally Posted by perspective View Post
As horrible as it sounds, I think the best argument to use is fear and uncertainty, seeing as thats why many circ in the first place. Fight fire with fire as they say. Tell them, well who knows what the boy will actually want. Or that there is nothing wrong with his penis now, but who knows what can happen after performing surgery. Just get one random parent emailing them their story about a botched circ, and it will really make those new parents think twice.
I am less inclined to use fear as it may not win a firm convert it's better that parents understand why but for what its worth:

Quote:
Tell them, well who knows what the boy will actually want.
Is an ethical approach.

One of the most interesting things about that is that the conditions that they are trying to prevent are often less severe, more easily treatable, and occur less frequently than a circumcision complication. I am not sure if a random botch story would be as effective, it's kind of like when a pro-circ parent uses a random infection story. The difference is that the latter is mere chance the former an actively accepted gamble, and the gambler isn't playing with their own money.
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