AAP ethicist misrepresents circumcision's role in deathBy Hugh Young
The ethicist for the American Academy of Pediatrics has mis-stated the role of circumcision in a baby's death.
On radio KQED, he said the family of a very sick baby had wanted him circumcised before he died.
Yet the baby's mother had blogged, while he was still struggling for life against a circumcision-caused haemorrage, "I almost killed my baby".
The baby was born in Indiana in August 2010 with a major heart defect, virtually half his heart missing. He underwent heart surgery three days later. In October, the hospital told his mother he was well enough to be circumcised, but they nicked an artery and he died the next day.
The doctor came in this morning and asked if we wanted to get it done today. I said yes....
I should have known better. I should have said no. I had hoped that he would do well and that it wouldn't be such a big deal. But instead, I almost killed my child by consenting.
... Why did I have to say yes?
Clearly, she was desperately hoping and praying her son would live (of course).
On Radio KQED on August 29 2012, the ethicist for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr Douglas Diekema, grossly misstated the case, portraying the mother as abandoning hope (starting at 12:40):
"There's at least, y'know, one of these cases that gets trotted out,
involved a very sick baby that was likely to die anyway, and his
parents wanted him circumcised before, ah, his death, and to attribute
that to a circumcision is silly, um, that kind of a death."
His mother's blogs give the lie to that interpretation. [She has since removed all reference to circumcision from her blog.]
Intactivists were accused at the time of exploiting the baby's death, after several had urged her not to circumcise, and berated her afterwards. Dr Diekema seems to be exploiting it in a much more cynical way, attributing to the mother a callous disregard for the baby's life.