No Family and No Child Should Have to Suffer the Way Michael Did

By Patricia (2002)


Hi. My name is Patricia and my son, Michael is 4 months old. His story is a very difficult one, but I am hoping that anyone out there trying to make a decision on whether or not to circumcise will read my story and learn from it. Some may call this an anecdote, but I like to think of it as a lesson to anyone who thinks that circumcision is something that is harmless or painless.

I live in the midwest. The idea of not circumcising seemed foreign to me. No one had ever presented a case as to not to do it, and truthfully, I didn't know that there was such controversy on the whole subject. I remember everyone telling me that this is just what is done and that it is a healthy and painless thing to do. I thought that all they did was cut the tip of the foreskin and the rest of it just fell away from the head. Shows how stupid I was.

I remember them taking my son from me, sleeping and wrapped in his little blanket. They said he'd be back shortly and that there was nothing to worry about. I was nervous and I had this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach- like maybe I should just let him be. I mean, I didn't see anything wrong with his penis, so why didn't I just say something?

An hour passed and I had heard nothing back. I was starting to get worried when the doctor came into my room telling me there had been a complication. The clamp they had used had gotten stuck and the head of my son's penis had been partially severed. He almost bled to death on the table and they had to put him under so they could try to reattach the head to his penis. I totally freaked out. Immediately the doctor left the room as I was sobbing like crazy, and my husband was in complete shock.

Three hours later the doctor came back and said they had been able to reattach the tip of the penis, but they would have to wait and see what the long term effects would be.

He has since had two infections and the scar site continues to bleed. He still cries everytime he pees, and we don't know if he will ever have proper function of his penis. He is scheduled to visit another pediatric urologist who will be able to evaulate him better and perhaps do a little more repair work. I will never be able to forgive myself for not being more educated on the subject of circumcision, and for not just being happy with the way he was. Not in a million years will what he has gone through ever be worth whatever supposed health benefits that circumcision is supposed to provide.

Although cases like my son's are rare, they do happen.I have violated the most private part of his body to satisfy some kind of bizarre cultural ritual. He will forever have the scars from my ignorance.

I have since filed a malpractice lawsuit against my doctor who did this, and have become very active in the anti-circumcision community. No one should ever have to go through this kind of pain. Even a "normal" circumcision is extremely painful for the baby. Imagine having half of your penis severed in the process.

Don't ever think this couldn't happen to your child. Don't ever think that it won't be your number picked from the hat. This doesn't HAVE to happen! That's the thing. There is no reason for this surgery and there never will be. There is no risk to just leaving your son's body the way nature intended it to be. The only time there are risks is when you introduce something unnatural to the equation. It's not worth it. People will try to compare this to car accidents or plane crashes. Some things are out of our control- however, this isn't.

I'm sorry this got so long. My heart breaks every time I write about this and every time I give my son a bath or change his diaper I am reminded. I sincerely hope that anyone thinking of this will think twice. Know the facts- and that is you have no right to put anyone through such pain based on ignorance and bias.


I do not know if you all remember me. My name is Patricia and my son Michael suffered a very severe complication from his circumcision where the head of his penis was partially severed by a negligent doctor.

Since then, much has happened. Everything was going well at one point and it looked like Michael was going to make a good recovery. He'd had his last reconstructive surgery and finally had the catheter removed to see if he would be able to urinate through his urethra. It went very well.

Two weeks ago, Michael developed a fever. He was crying day and night and Tylenol was not bring it down. The following night, he started having febrile seizures. We rushed him to the emergency room where it was found that he had a major infection and his temperature was 104.7. Antibiotics were not combating the infection, and his major organs started to shut down within hours. My litte boy never regained consciousness, and we removed him from life support 2 days later, so that we could still donate his organs.

Michael would have been 5 months old yesterday. I can't stop crying as I write this, because I can't stop running through my head that this could have been avoided! My son would be alive right now and I would not be sitting here feeling disgusted at some of the cruel and insensitive posts here if I hadn't made that decision. One could argue that something else could have taken him. Be it a car accident or whatever, but this decision was in my control. My son was perfect. Why did I have to put him through this? These doctors have a vested interest in keeping circumcision alive. Not because it's for the best interests of the children but because it benefits them financially.

I have lurked here for the last few days because I was not sure that I wanted to bring everyone down with my son's tragedy. But after seeing the activity that has taken place here, where everyone is talking about how it's their choice, no of you are even thinking that these babies are the ones who are going to suffer. They don't have to suffer the way my son did, but they will suffer through the pain and indignity of this surgery. I want my story to help others. I refuse to allow Michael's death be in vain. You may be lucky enough to never be in my shoes, but I never in a million lifetimes expected this to happen to me either. So please hold your babies tight. Do not allow this senseless act continue. I don't know if there are enough things in this world that I would give up to have my son back in my arms. To know that I could have prevented this with just saying the word 'no' is more maddening than you will ever know.

I just want you all to pray for my family and for our tough road ahead. The doctors who did this are going to pay big for what they allowed to happen to my son. No family and no child should have to suffer the way Michael did. My sweet baby boy.

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