Nov 252013

Newborns“You can’t discharge them! They haven’t had him circumcised yet!”

- L&D Nurses discussing the discharge preparations for a mother-baby couplet, when the parents had already repeatedly declined circumcision.

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 November 25, 2013  circumcision, L&D Nurse, newborn  Add comments

  68 Responses to ““You Can’t Discharge Them! They Haven’t Had Him Circumcised Yet!””

  1. UMMM…..Circumcision isn’t mandatory. If anyone approaches my sons’ peni with a scalpel in hand I will personally rip their arm off and beat the crap out of them with it.

  2. “Get me the patient advocate. Now. If the patient advocate comes in while I’m on the phone with my insurance company, tell him or her to just wait for me to be done, because we’ve got a lot to talk about.”

  3. Circumcision is one of those things that is very much up to the parents, is not medically necessary most of the time, and should NEVER be pushed by hospital staff.

    • See, I really don’t understand why cutting off a healthy, functional part of someone’s anatomy is EVER up to anyone but the person whose body part it is. Can you explain it to me?

      • You are obviously looking for a fight.

        • Nope. Just looking for an answer to a question that honestly perplexes me. Do you have one?

          • I’m not Amy, but the truth of the matter is that, as it stands, circumcision is definitely up to the parents, as opposed to being up to the hospital staff.

            I tend to agree with you, btw; circ is a decision BEST left to the owner of the penis. But Amy is not incorrect in saying that it is up to the parents, rather than something that should be decided by the hospital staff (especially a nurse – it’s outside her scope of practice to recommend any medical procedure, and, since nurses are supposed to be “patient advocates” it IS part of the nurses job to protect informed consent/refusal, so the nurses in this post are behaving badly in more ways than one).

          • Toni, there is absolutely no reason the decision to circumcise should belong to anyone other than the boy himself at the age of consent. He’s the one who will be dealing with the lifelong consequences of circumcision, not the parents.

          • @The Whole Network:

            Um. Yeah. That’s why I said this, “I tend to agree with you, btw; circ is a decision BEST left to the owner of the penis.”

            Apparently you missed that. You are forgiven.

            But what you seem to be forgetting (or deliberately ignoring) is that currently, the way it works, is that parents (right, wrong, or indifferent, and btw, I agree with you that it’s wrong, but it is the way it is, at least for now) get to make this decision. Not hospital staff. No matter how anxious the nurse is to have your child circumcised, it is not her decision. That is all.

            If you don’t like that it is up to the parents, work to get the laws changed to extend the FGM act to protect males as well as females. Nitpicking people’s comments on an online message board likely won’t help matters. Especially nitpicking someone who is already on your side, dude.

    • amputating a part of ones body is no ones choice but the person being amputated not their parents.

      • My turn to nick pick: Change “is” to “should be” and you are right. I agree parents should not be given the option of performing this procedure (excepting in clear medical necessity cases, which would be exceedingly rare). But the simple fact remains that, as of today, in the US, parents do have the right to choose whether or not to circ. The point of Amy’s post is that it is (currently) up to the parents, as opposed to being up to some busybody nurse. Whether or not it should be up to the parents is a whole other discussion. It’s definately NOT up to hospital staff.

        • I hope you are not relying on the law to tell you what is right or wrong in your everyday life. There are plenty of right/wrong everyday choices we make that are not detailed in the letter of the law. It’s true that MGM activists are working to change the law, as it would protect considerably more babies than any online discussion, but this is largely a grassroots movement, and it depends very much on person to person interaction. We aim to change minds and hearts, to help people recognize that inherent human rights exist even when the letter of the law has not yet acknowledged them – that speaking up often on behalf of those with no voice is crucial to protecting them. I hope you can understand what I’m saying. Being legal doesn’t make it right – even though FGM was allowed by the law, it was still wrong, and so is MGM. I’m glad you recognize that it should be a right protected by law, but in the meantime, you’ve an ethical obligation to uphold it, regardless of the letter of the law.

          • Gaaaahhhh!!!!

            There. I feel better now. I should know by now any and all posts regarding circ will result in a bunch of activists storming in picking a fight with people, even those that, get this, AGREE WITH THEM.

            Yes, for the umpteenth time, the only person in a non-emergency situation that should decide whether or not to be circ’d is the person getting circ’d. Grassroots is great for spreading accurate info, but the fact remains that, as of now, today, circ is still legal in the US, so it is something that parents of newborn males will be asked to decide on behalf of their sons. The point, my only point really, is that, while it may not be moral/ethical to leave that decision up to the parents, it is even LESS moral or ethical to leave it up to some budinsky nurse, amiright? And it is atrocious that a nurse would continue to harass and harangue parents for ‘opting out’ in an attempt to get them to change their mind, correct?

            I’m so glad I have three daughters. I don’t have to deal with a-holes. At least not about this issue ;)

  4. I want to know who the nurse was talking to. I’m imagining it was the doctor and the doctor told the nurse just how out of line she was and put her in her place. I might just not come back and read this again just so my happy balloon doesn’t get popped.

    • No need to pop your happy balloon. The nurse was talking to our midwife, who absolutely did read her the riot act. All’s well that ends well!

  5. Am I the only one who reads this almost as a threat — as in, “I won’t let you leave until I talk you into circumcizing your child”?

    If that’s the case, I’d just lie. “Oh, remember? I told you we were having him circumcized in a religious ceremony. Actually, you’re holding us up for it right now.” Then just “convert” on the way to the ceremony (Road-to-Damascus style!)

    • Or just walk out the door. The whole thing about insurance companies not paying if you leave AMA is an urban legend. They can’t hold you hostage there, and if they call CPS because you refused consent for circumcision, I don’t think it’s going to get very far.

  6. Wow. This sounds like one of the 5 nurses I had with my last. We medically could NOT circumcise our son and she followed us to the parking lot demanding we “make him normal.” I hope the OP had a slightly saner nurse on her hands.

    • Yikes!! What a rigid nut job

    • Wow. I wonder if once she was outside the hospital building she could have been considered outside the scope of her practice and therefore been arrested for harassment. ;-) Nice to daydream about that.

      • Yes, I too believe the boundaries she overstepped included harassment abd stalking.

      • We made several complaints and, to my knowledge, nothing was ever done. Even the patient advocate told us “she’s just doing her job.” Staff like that make me glad I’m done adding to my family.

        • Holy cheese and crackers Batman!! That nurse was NOT doing her job.

          I’m shocked the patient advocate didn’t understand the severity of this nurse’s disrespectful and harassing behavior.

          • I can honestly say, thanks to my husband’s military career and the not-so-lovely mandatory family fun days, I have met more than a few morticians who show more respect to their patient’s rights than most of the staff at the hospital I was forced to deliver at for my last. Which truly terrifies me.

    • That’s horrible! So far over the line that it’s not even funny. And she got away with it, too!

      This nurse wasn’t THAT bad, although I thought she handled the situation very poorly. Her behavior was just unprofessional and insulting all the way around. For one thing, our son roomed in with both of us and never went anywhere without a parent. Surely if we’d really wanted him circumcised, we would have noticed and insisted it be done before we walked out, right? It also bugged me that she wouldn’t even come and ask us herself. Instead, it came across as though she’d been nice to our faces, but went behind our backs to question our decisions and harass our midwife about them.

      • With scalpel-happy freaks for nurses like this one, I’m glad you roomed in with her! We roomed in with our sons! No way were we going to let them take them out of our view. Too many “accidents” happen. Wrong baby taken for circumcision. Not on my watch.

      • As an RN and a mother, I am always educating people about the human rights of little boys and girls and intersexed children to keeping the genitals they were born with. Every person on this planet has the right to keep the normal and natural genitals they were born with, in the normal and natural state they are in. That follows that no parent, for religious, community or cultural reasons has the right to circumcise their son, their daughter or change the genitals of their intersex child. They will always have to grow up harmed by that decision. I don’t curse or shame people who make this decision for their child when they don’t know better but when you do know better and still change someones future sex life anyway by cutting their genitals, you should be aware that what has been done is wrong and will always be wrong.

        • Woah; I’d report you in an instant if you were my nurse!! I am informed and educated about such matters, and if by some miracle or act of god, ever had a son I would circumcise. I would expect to be able to make that choice without a scolding from somebody like you.

          • Yes. A nurse who tries to force her intactivist views on parents is just as bad in my opinion as a nurse who tries to force pro-circumcision views.

          • A nurse is a medical professional who’s job it, partially, is to make sure patients are fully informed before making any decision. You pro-cutters don’t want to hear facts (if you did you’d never hurt your child by cutting them) and will even get pissed at an awesome nurse doing her job right. Do you know how many regret parents are out there and wouldn’t live with that regret and guilt every day had a nurse like this spoke up before it happened? Shame on you for trying to make this nurse feel bad for doing her job well.

          • It is NEVER a nurse’s job to force his/her personal opinions or convictions onto his/her patients!

          • Mama de Gabi y Mari
            this isn’t a case of personal views. Circumcision is an unnecessary procedure with no medical benefit

          • It IS about personal choice. Whether you and other intactivists like it or not, it is a choice that parents get to make. You don’t get to make it for them.

          • What Mama de Gabi y Mari is trying to say is: “It’s my right to make that decision based on whatever I want! How dare you tell me the facts? I don’t need facts to make this decision, all I need are my own feelings and social conditioning! Keep your damn facts away from me!”.

          • Oh, and Sally, would you report her for telling you the same thing in regards to female circumcision? If not, you are a hypocrite and misandrist.

            Don’t get into the whole “FGM is different than male circumcision” garbage. The fact is that there are two types of FGM that are less damaging than circumcision as performed today, and all FGM is illegal in the U.S.. Yet MGM (aka circumcision) is legal. It’s a gross human rights violation, and it’s actually illegal in the U.S. to have a law that protects one “class” of people and not another.

    • Into the parking lot? What the hell??

      • The hospital layout worked like this: You go in the front double doors and to the right was another set opening to the L&D family waiting area/triage for patients (it was divided with a curtain). If you walked all of 30 feet ahead, past the bathroom and 2 triage beds, you could go through to the “L&D floor.” 8 patient beds, no nursery (so idk what happened if mom got too sick to room-in), and at the end in the left corner was the OR for c-sections and any emergencies. You could see the nurses and doctors from every room. She had maybe a 3 minute walk from my room to the parking lot. It was a SMALL hospital. I think that made for crabby staff because most of them just seemed unhappy with their jobs/where they were.

  7. Wow, I can’t believe there are still hospitals that do this routinely!! Here there are only 3 doctors (that I know of) that do it. my sons are actually circumcised but it was done well after we left hospital.

    and as a side note there was no scalpel involved. If i had seen one I think I would have grabbed baby and ran!!!

    • What method did they use? Gomco and morgen clamp both use a scalpel….hemostat to separate the foreskin from the glans, scissors to cut the foreskin to make the opening wide enough for the bell part of the device to fit (gomco), and then a scalpel to cut the foreskin distal to the crush line (both). I suppose the plastibell doesn’t necessarily use a scalpel, but waiting for a body part to lose blood circulation, become necrotic and eventually fall off never sounded like a humane option.

      I’m still flabbergasted as to why Americans have this done routinely at all. I would have thought your health system would take an ethical stand against it like many European countries have.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble but there is ALWAYS a scalpel involved in circumcision no matter which procedure they use. It’s ALWAYS painful and unethical. it’s ALWAYS wrong.

      • Oh I’m sorry I didn’t realise you were there! I don’t live in America either… Not that that’s really important. It’s not like I closed my eyes while we were there, it was one of the hardest days of my mothering life so far, pretty sure I remember how it went. I’m not defending myself (I have no reason to since it’s not your business) but I really don’t appreciate you suggesting im kidding myself and that I’m negligent or abusive I would rather they lost a tiny piece of skin than be on constant antibiotics from infections. I agree it should not be routine, and here it’s not, I agree it’s unnecessary, sometimes you shouldn’t judge people based on opinion

        • Did not say negligent or abusive anywhere. You said those words, must be based in some guilt. I doubt you were there if you truly think it was scalpel free. I’m guessing you had the plastibell done and think it’s painless and just falls off. Yes, the skin still needs to be painfully RIPPED from the glans and cut with a scalpel to put the bell on. The bell then cuts circulation off slowly and painfully over the course of DAYS to cut the skin off.
          Constant antibiotics eh? I guess you either think you’re incapable, as a mother, to clean your child properly (which isn’t even hard. Only clean what is seen. Wipe like a finger) or you think you’re child is going to be a complete dumbass and not be able to clean himself. Because my father, grandfathers, and husband have never had problems. None of them have constantly been on abx. The ignorance in the words you say is astounding and it’s a shame your son suffered from that ignorance.

          • Seriously. What the f is your problem. We got it done because we had to not because we wanted to, how are you not getting this, in comparison they foreskin is a small price to pay, I would prefer that it wasn’t necessary. My first comment clearly says it was done well after we left hospital. I just love how you jump on someone you have never met withit even asking their story. It’s none of your freakin business I do not have to justify myself to you or anyone

          • Well either you didn’t care for the intact penis properly causing issues or you were duped as there are no naturally occurring issues with an intact penis that can be fully diagnosed to the point of “requiring” circumcision prior to reaching adulthood.

        • Why would your son have constant infections? Are you incapable of wiping his penis as you would a finger? Do you not believe he will some day be capable of, and enjoy, handling his penis in the bath or shower?

          You are obviously under the erroneous impression that intact penises are breeding grounds for bacteria. You also seem convinced the foreskin is too small to be significant. A girl’s foreskin is much tinier, so maybe you think they should be removed too.

          You could not have been in the room when your son was circumcised, or you didn’t watch, because EVERY method involves the use if a scalpel. Every. Single. One.

          Mothers: before you make this decision for your son, please do your research. When you do, you’ll realize the foreskin as important protective functions, intact penises are just as easy to keep clean as circumcised ones (easier for several days/weeks post-op), a boy is more likely to die from circumcision complications than to ever need one, and circumcision is incredibly painful and unnecessary. Oh, and men who choose to be circumcised are given effective anaesthesia and good post-op pain meds, unlike babies.

          • Oh my f’ing god people. I was there I held my baby, he cried I cried, I never said it was painless, yes I felt guilt at the time, I felt guilty because all mothers feel guilt when their child encounters the slightest bit of preventable discomfort, I do not feel guilty now because since then we have never had a problem, before hand we did, I’m not making assumptions.

    • Are you sure about that? Plastibell circumcision is commonly believed to be ‘no cutting’ – this is not true. It MAY be done without cutting, but the foreskin would have to be stretched and torn to accommodate the device, therefore a slit is usually made through dual layers of the foreskin after a blunt probe has been shoved underneath to tear them membrane keeping it fused to the glans (like a fingernail). Here are several articles about plastibell circumcision myths, including videos (beware, they are disturbing) and an image depicting the procedure step-by-step, cutting and all. (scroll to see the step-by-step illustrations; warning, the images beyond this point are extremely graphic and disturbing, and illustrate several complications associated with plastibell circumcision)

      I have no doubt that you made the best choice you were able to at the time. I simply wish to correct misinformation and make sure people are aware of what circumcision actually entails – primarily that there is no such thing as a cut-free circumcision, and that all circumcision is traumatic and has a similar set of risks.

      • I had never seen a circumcision done until I visited the first site you listed. I was appalled by what I saw. I will NEVER do that to any of my children. Infant genital mutilation is what it is.

  8. This is my submission. Backstory: My room happened to be directly across from the nurses’ station. When it came time for us to go home, I overheard our midwife tell the nurse on duty that she was going to start the discharge paperwork. Cue the line above. Our midwife informed her that we’d declined both on paper and verbally. Then the nurse proceeded to argue with the midwife that there MUST have been a misunderstanding. I guess having “no circumcision” in our birth plan, actively declining in our admissions paperwork, and reiterating “no” at every single shift change somehow did not preclude any ambiguity for her.

    To be fair, all three midwives and all three pediatricians we had seen up to this point were either openly supportive of our (non)decision or never mentioned circumcision at all. It was the nurses who just would not. stop. asking. Our impression was that they believed we would “come to our senses” eventually, although I suppose some of them could have just been functioning on autopilot rather than passing judgment. Still, it was the one blight on what was an otherwise very positive experience.

    The silver lining to this particular incident was that after our obviously irritated midwife stuck her head in to verify that my husband and I honestly, truly, really meant what we said, we also got to overhear her giving the nurse an earful–not just for her lack of professionalism, but for acting as though taking home a perfectly normal, healthy male baby as-is would be something to avoid at all costs.

  9. A friend of mine was billed for a circumcision….when she gave birth to her DAUGHTER! When she called the hospital out on it they told her not to worry about it since she didnt have to paid for it anyway. Um….insurance fraud! That was military insurance. Thankfully, not many insurance companies pay for it were we live. Leave it to the government/military to waste money on cosmetic surgeries on infants! Ugh!

    • Not all government…the Medicaid in South Carolina doesn’t pay for circumcision.

      • The regular state medicaid won’t cover it, but unfortunately some of the health plans associated with medicaid will. First Choice/SelectHealth will cover circumcision without prior authorization if it’s done before discharge.

        (in case anyone wonders what I’m talking about, we have state medicaid, and you’re required to enroll in a free “health plan” from one of the major prividers. We have BlueChoice, which is run by BC/BS. Some have extra benefits, such as no copays for adults, and one of them covers vision care and the others don’t. It’s just a way to get private health insurance companies to appropriate medicaid dollars and line their pockets.)

    • The hospital put a circumcision charge on *my* (the mama’s) bill! Yeah, we called the hospital and had *that* removed from the bill. And I had a daughter anyway!

  10. Our insurance likely paid for my two son’s non-existant circumcisions as well. The hospital has a ‘birth package’ that they would not further itimize for me :/ In addition, some (explitive deleted) doctor tried to retract my son once. When I called back to complain again, I was told it was a ‘service’ that they “usually billed for”. WHAT??? I made sure my insurance didn’t pay that (explitive deleted) one cent for her ‘services’.

  11. Americans have it done routinely because it’s required by most hospitals that the parents be asked if they want it done, and parents routinely consent without adequate medical knowledge on its cosmetic (non-medical) nature or necessity.

  12. OBs (and others in the American medical industry) push very hard for infant circumcision because the practice is a huge money maker for them. Even though it blatantly violates the Code of Ethics of the American Medical Association, which states: “Physicians should not provide, prescribe, or seek compensation for medical services that they know are unnecessary.”

    • exactly. So instead of stopping they come up with nonsense reasons why it is necessary. Btw for those of you who are going to jump on me over things like phimosis and the HIV “studies” there are a few things you need to understand. #1 phimosis is caused by premature retraction of the foreskin. The foreskin like the vagina is a self cleaning oven, no retraction necessary. If phimosis does occur steriod creams are available as a first line treatment. Circumcision should be used as a last possible resort, and only if the condition is actually negatively affecting the person (my husband has phimosis and has no pain or functionality issues associated with it so it’s not always necessary and the urologist told him that it’s fairly common for it to not actually cause real issues) #2 The oft cited HIV studies were unethically conducted and did not follow proper scientific method levels of data collection. If circumcision really affected HIV transmission we would see higher infection rates in Europe where circumcision is performed far less frequently than it is here. There is no good reason for routine infant circumcision to occur, and a lot of very good reasons not to do it.

  13. Wow, comments like this make me glad for the hospitals where my three younger sons were born. They asked if I wanted it done, I gave them my answer, and that was the end of it. With my second son, the nurse actually looked relieved because it got us out of there quicker and they were packed solid. With my youngest, it was mentioned a second time, but only because I hadn’t signed and checked the consent form. The clerk came in, asked why I hadn’t signed that or the Hep B consent form, and then had me sign them with nonconsent just so they had the paperwork. No pushing or rude comments.

  14. THeir insistence sounds like upsizing to me. It makes money so push it. very sad.

    • Exactly. Most of the time, the surgery is not covered by insurance, so the cost is just cash in the dr’s pocket. then they sell the foreskin to cosmetic companies and make more money. It’s sick.

  15. sounds like when i took my son home! two whole days of nurses coming in, going “oh, and you’re not circumcising him” and then moving on became a FREAK OUT 20 minutes before we were supposed to leave as i was finishing the discharge paperwork, three nurses came in and said “You can’t leave yet, we didnt circumcise him!” and then looked at me kinda deadpan when i said “we’re not going to” and the nurse that was already there with me just showed them the paper where i had already declined it….. and the nurse that wheeled us out actually spent 10 minutes telling me it was just fine and that they were all crossovers from geriatrics and they just dislike cleaning elderly gentlemen that were not circumcised, but they forget that older ladies are just as difficult to clean but nobody (well,nobody here!) suggests we mutilate them….

    and then all the family friends who were confused. and hubbys grandparents who PANICKED. ugh. just leave the poor boy’s penis alone. he thinks its great as is! (he’s almost 3 now)

    • One of my mother-in-law’s friends looked a bit shocked one day because I watched her grandson for a few minutes and had to change his diaper. I mentioned that when I changed him, it was a bit weird for me to see a circumcised penis and had thought there was something wrong for a brief minute before I realized it was cut. She just said, “Your’s aren’t?” and left it at that. My father-in-law made comments about it being better so I asked him why he had left his son intact if circumcised is better. He hasn’t said another word about it.

  16. Okay, male circumcision is a procedure with basis in one or more of the following:
    Medical necessity
    Cultural tradition
    Religious practice
    Familial preference

    None of those allow for medical personnel to mandate that all male children be circumcised at birth.

  17. *facepalm* constant antibiotics! THATS what I’ve forgotten for my two boys for the last 3 years. Damn, I knew it was something. Better check to make sure my husband, dad, and all of the rest of the world are taking their constant antibiotics too. FYI, since you are obviously not familiar with the forskin, the chance of UTI for an intact male is minimally higher (like 1% higher for the first year only). This can be easily explained by the fact that preemies are more likely to be intact and are more prone to UTIs. Girls also are 10x more likely to have UTIs and no one recommends genital cutting to ‘cure’ or prevent that. In addition, even if there were somehow absolutely no cutting involved, even if your son’s foreskin wasn’t attached to the glans like a fingernail to the nail bed like it is in 99.999% of newborns, even if the skin was crushed off until it shrivelled up and fell off, even if all that, it was still removing a healthy, functioning piece of someone else’s body without medical cause. Cosmetic surgery should be up to the owner of the body and no one else.

    • and the only reason it’s higher is because people don’t clean their children’s diapers effectively to begin with. Learn to change a diaper BEFORE having kids. That will reduce the UTI rate among infants of both genders significantly.

  18. I wish my “Parents” had a nurse like her. MAYBE they would have been turned off by the truth. Because SOMEONE wouldnt speak up for me, an infant at the time… I “won” a lifetime of phsysical PAIN, and having to explain what is wrong to NUMEROUS doctors… AND any sexual partner…. It is nice that so-called “parents” NEVER think that their kid could be the one, that something goes wrong (losing healthy flesh is wrong) some may have immediate side effects, some have LIFETIME side effects, and some side effects later in life…. But they were born male so the “Parent” gets to chose their punishment. If god himself brought me the disgusting excuse for a human being (with no heart for a helpless infant) no man would be able to pull me off that C***

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