Monday, March 9, 2015

AUCKLAND, NZ: 10 boys in hospital after backyard botches

New Zealand Herald (Auckland)
Januay 31,2015

Inquiries into botched home operations

by Martin Johnston

Two investigations are under way after botched home circumcisions that resulted in 10 boys being taken to hospital - one of whom required surgical treatment.

The Ministry of Health and police are investigating after Middlemore Hospital attended to 10 boys, of whom eight were admitted to the Starship children's hospital this month.

The ministry understands that the individual of interest is now outside New Zealand, said its chief legal adviser, Phil Knipe.

The boys, all around the age of puberty, are thought to have had circumcisions performed by the same man, understood to be a visitor from Tonga who is not registered as a medical practitioner in New Zealand.

"We had eight patients who were admitted because of complications from botched circumcisions," said Starship spokesman Gilbert Wong. "They were done in a medically inappropriate manner. They had infections afterwards."

He said the Auckland District Health Board was considering undertaking some "community outreach" among Pacific Island residents of Auckland to encourage families to seek proper medical care if they wanted their boys circumcised.

Otara GP Dr Harley Aish said a doctor at his clinic had performed circumcisions, mainly for local Pasifika communities, for many years.

Dr Aish's colleague did the procedure under local anaesthetic and the cost was $350 to $450.

Mangere MP Su'a William Sio said male circumcision between the ages of 8 and 14 was a cultural norm for Samoans and Tongans, but he urged Pacific communities to ensure the operations were done only by people with the proper training and qualifications.


Q: Who can legally perform a circumcision?
A: New Zealand-registered health practitioners who have a current practising certificate. This includes GPs although some surgeons consider GPs under-qualified unless they have had special training.

Q: What is male circumcision?
A: Surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis.

Q: How common is it?
A: Very common until the 1970s but now fewer than 10 per cent of male babies in NZ are circumcised. [Much fewer, more like 5%]

Q: How much does it cost?
A: Free at public hospitals, which will generally only do procedure if there is a medical reason. Cost: around $400 at a GP, using local anaesthetic, or $2,000 in hospital under general anaesthetic, which is recommended if older than six months.

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