A baby boy who suffered serious injuries during the religious bris ceremony of circumcision is bringing attention to the routine practice and its potential risks.
The infant boy’s penis was severed during a bris that was performed by Pittsburgh rabbi and mohel, Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg, CBS Local KDKA reported. The bris ceremony occurred at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Following the eight-day-old boy’s injury, many are wondering if the traditional ceremony is necessary, CBS Local KDKA reported.
The baby was rushed to Children’s Hospital for his injury and underwent eight hours of microsurgery. The procedure has been described as successful. Discussing the practice of religious circumcision, Dr. Mark Weiss told CBS that, “So, yes … one-hundred percent complication rate.” Dr. Weiss is among a growing group of Jewish community leaders who oppose religious circumcision and who feel the practice is dangerous.
“There’s no question,” he said. “There is death from circumcision every year. And in the African countries, where medicine is much more primitive, the death rate is much higher,” Dr. Weiss added, CBS Local reported.
“It’s the fundamental right of a child to keep his healthy body parts,” Greg Hartley of Intact America, said, according to CBS. Intact America opposes the practice. “We live in a circumcision culture,” Hartley said. “It’s assumed to be an automatic part of birth. But it’s not. Most of the world doesn’t do this.”
Rabbi Rosenberg, who would not be filmed, told KDKA that the injury to the baby was a “tragic incident” and a “horrible situation.” He told CBS Local that he is trained to perform religious circumcision and that he continues to perform bris ceremonies.
Rabbi Rosenberg does not have formal medical training, according to RawStory, and is at the center of a lawsuit. An attorney involved in the matter pointed out that, on average, a pediatric urologist spends about 20 percent of his or her practice hours repairing unsuccessful circumcisions. There do not appear to be any United States laws regulating the practice of religious circumcision, according to the lawyer.
The baby also required about six blood transfusions and was hospitalized for close to two months, in addition to undergoing eight hours of microsurgery, RawStory reported.
The rabbi indicated on his website that a “medical circumcision, usually performed in the hospital on the second or third day after birth, does not fulfill the requirements of a Bris Milah and is not considered valid according to Jewish law.” The rabbi also claims that he is recognized as a Certified Mohel by the American Board of Ritual Circumcision, HealthNewsLine reported.
Medically, a circumcision procedure involves removing the foreskin from the penis. While some believe that circumcised males are less likely to suffer from urinary tract infection (UTI), HIV, herpes, and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), many experts believe any circumcision benefits are not sufficient to routinely recommend the procedure, according to HealthNewsLine.