by John Geisheker, JD, LL.M.
Executive Director/General Counsel
of Doctors Opposing Circumcision
We at DOC have been tracking the pernicious practice of premature forcible foreskin retraction (PFFR) of intact boys for many years, and have developed a process for reporting doctors and nurses who do so. We get 2 or 3 complaints a week, and intervene on a regular basis on behalf of boys and their parents.
You may know that this 'intervention' was common in decades past, where mothers were urged to do it at each bath. Now ranks as ignorant cruelty, is forbidden by the AAP ---but is still very common.
I enclose a published article on the practice, which we wrote, and which we send to parents who contact us.
We formerly just contacted the doctor enclosing some literature and made nice with re-education. Now we fire both barrels and complain, formally, to the state MD or RN licensing people directly. We justify that aggressive stance with a small story:
"There is an old joke about a young farmer whose mule refuses to work. He summons a much older and experienced nearby farmer to assist him. The old farmer arrives and examines the recalcitrant mule. The old farmer then picks up a 2 x 4 and whacks the mule across the forehead. The young farmer is appalled by this apparent cruelty, and asks the old farmer why this was necessary. The old farmer replies, "First you have to get his attention.""
It is unfortunate that we need to lodge a formal complaint to get appropriate attention in these instances, but unfortunately, over ten years experience, it has proved necessary and the only strategy which appears to work.
We caution parents, however, that they should expect not only resistance from the offending physician or nurse, and his or her clinic colleagues, but perhaps blacklisting. So we urge parents to make sure that they have alternate medical care before they report any physician to the licensing authorities.
A formal complaint on the record has minimal effect on the Dr, except that he or she might be obliged to reveal it to his or her insurance carrier, and it might be available to those Googling the doctor's record with the state agency.
To date we have contacted 20 or so states and NONE has ever taken any meaningful action against the doctor or nurse, including our home state of Washington, alas. That's because state health departments and boards of medical licensing are made up mostly of doctors (older ones). They do not police their ranks in any meaningful way. The effort to date is thus mostly educational, a slow process, but eventually we will get there.
But we at DOC no longer take the time merely to correspond with the doctor or lodge an 'anonymous' complaint, as we have found this to be a waste of our medical and legal time. It gets no ones 'attention.'
We always urge those parents who are able, to allow us to formally report the physician or nurse on their behalf, with mega-medical documentation (since that is likely to save many other young boys down the line). When a physician or nurse forcibly retracts a child to bleeding and infection, without apology, it is likely that he or she has been doing this for years, and will continue to do so until reprimanded, formally, by his or her licensing authority or shamed before his or her colleagues.
We happily help families with forcibly retracted boys (with first-aid, medical, and legal advice) at NO charge, though donations are, of course, appreciated.
Please direct questions or requests for assistance directly to DOC at http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/