Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Look at Circumcision Death Rates

It is quite frustrating for me that finding indisputable, universally accepted circumcision death rate statistics seems to be impossible. Older sources put the number at 1:500,000 (Circumcision: Position Paper on Neonatal Circumcision). A newer study places the number at 9.01 in 100,000 or approximately 117 per year in the United States (Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths).

The study, authored by Dan Bollinger has received both criticism and support in least one forum. Still more criticism can be largely discredited due to straw man analysis and authorship by a circumfetishist. Bollinger's analysis provides the most accurate and up-to-date numbers regarding circumcision death rates the medical community has seen so far.

A number of articles cover this research comparing the death rate from circumcision to that from SIDS. The death rate is greater than that from suffocation and automobile accidents.

Drop-side cribs were banned after more than 30 reported deaths (After dozens of deaths, drop-side cribs outlawed). An entire class of products was banned due to approximately 30 deaths. But we don't ban cosmetic surgery that kills more than one hundred babies a year?

Unfortunately, neither the Bollinger research nor the associated news stories is good enough for Wikipedia:

Neither new source meet WP:MEDRS; Thymos does not appear to be MEDLINE indexed, or even have any information which would help establish its reliability such as discussing its editorial board or policies. There is no indication this meets WP:RS, much less WP:MEDRS. In any event, this would be a primary study anyways, and would not qualify for MEDRS.

Recent deaths due to metzitzah b’peh in New York (Baby’s Death Renews Debate Over a Circumcision Ritual, How 11 New York City Babies Contracted Herpes Through Circumcision) are often dismissed by pro-circumcision advocates as isolated cases not relevant to the discussion. It is disturbing that genital mutilation followed by felatio is legal. It is indisputable that these deaths are associated with and caused by a circumcision ritual and are quite valid as part of the larger discussion.

The corruption and malaise within the medical community is a frustrating reality for intactivists. Whereas science as a whole advances consensus through properly-vetted research, "medical science" is fractured and moves to serve medical device manufacturers, health care providers, and pharmaceutical companies. Good research, such as Bollinger's, is marginalized due to arbitrary constraints (e.g. Wikipedia:MEDRS). Meanwhile, improperly-conducted, unethical research (such as the Africa HIV circumcision studies) published in journals such as Cochrane "pass the test" and are touted as indisputable fact. Cochrane is seen as a reliable source by many despite its tremendous incompetence at properly vetting articles.

Regardless of number, are any deaths from circumcision acceptable? How many children die from being intact?

1 comment:

  1. All those needless deaths. Yet another example of how life is cheap in this world. "Oh dear, another baby boy that has died from surgery to his penis that he did not want, nor need, nor ask for. Never mind there are plenty more being born to replace him. He won't be missed. He was a nobody. A nobody that had the chance to become a somebody taken from him by ignorant, prejudiced, misguided and/or mercenary people that should be made to answer for this injustice."

    As a man that was circumcised as an infant I guess I should feel that I am one of the lucky ones that did not die as a direct consequence of it. However, I do not feel like a lucky guy, just a man that has suffered the lesser of two evils.