[Quoted anonymously with permission of the author.]

"Dr. Xxxxxx mutilated my sexual organs

when I was a child"

November 15, 1997

Dear associate of Robert Wayne Xxxxxx,

I have learned that Dr. Xxxxxx mutilated my sexual organs when I was a child in 1971. Because of this I have a permanent physical disability and I am unable to function normally in that area.

The mutilation left me permanently disendowed and humiliated. As the good Doctor has failed to answer the simple questions I posed to him on November 10, I can only assume he thinks I will not like his answers.

I have given Dr. Xxxxxx an opportunity to explain his actions, but found his response unsatisfactory. In a letter of November 5, referring to circumcision, he wrote: "I regret that you feel the way you do. I assure you that the medical treatment you received was appropriate and in keeping with the common practice in 1971. At that time the majority of males were circumcised, the procedure was done upon parental request, and a legal consent form was completed for all surgical procedures performed."

Dr. Xxxxxx suggests that the surgery referred to as circumcision constitutes "medical treatment" (by definition, an intervention to correct a disease or deformity). I find it deeply insulting to be patronized in this manner. I am fully aware of the true origins of this sex surgery, as can be found in the historical literature.[1] In fact, there was nothing at all wrong with my genitalia that necessitated any treatment. The surgery actually resulted in a deformity and a functional loss.

Whatever treatment other males may have needed (or not needed) in 1971 obviously has no bearing on my medical case. Dr. Xxxxxx's protection from prosecution through having obtained a "legal consent form" is not relevant to my outcome. I find these excuses truly pathetic.

I was born healthy and there was in no way anything wrong with my penis. Regardless, according to my mother, Dr. Xxxxxx recommended to her that I would benefit from circumcision surgery. Shortly after my birth on May 1, 1971, at Yyyyyyy General Hospital, Dr. Xxxxxx informed my mother that he would circumcise me. I was taken away and strapped to a board or otherwise held so I could not escape. Dr. Xxxxxx penetrated my preputial orifice with a blunt probe. He separated the synechial tissue that fused my immature glans to the foreskin. He picked up a circumcision instrument and proceeded to inflict grievous injuries upon my person, thereby directly causing the following problems:

My distal inner and outer preputial layers and a portion of my frenulum are gone.

All of my Taylor's ridged bands and their thousands of Meissner tactile nerve endings (the same type of nerves that provide fine touch sensations to the lips and fingertips[2]) are gone.

There is an unattractive brown scar girdling my penis.

Proximal to the scar is a jagged gash on my dorsal penile shaft skin that looks like an accidental laceration.

My ability to cover the glans and retract, and consequently to masturbate in the normal effortless way, is gone.[3]

I have enough remaining penile shaft skin to accommodate a full erection without undue pain, tearing, bowing or bleeding, yet some scrotal/abdominal skin is drawn onto the penile shaft at erection.

My glans was left exposed to rub constantly in my underwear, which I find uncomfortable.

I have been forced to undergo an unpleasant, long and difficult regimen of skin expansion in an effort to regain the protection and some of the other functions of the prepuce. Of course the specialized sensory structures of Taylor's ridged band and the action of the frenulum are gone forever and can never be restored.

I have no reason to believe that Dr. Xxxxxx used any form of anaesthesia while inflicting these injuries. Such was not in common use at that time. The pain of unanesthetized circumcision[4] has been likened to torture.[5] I think that any responsible and competent physician in 1971 might reasonably have guessed that inflicting such severe pain on an infant could possibly lead to lasting neurological effects. This has since been proven in the case of circumcision sex surgery.[6]

Many scientific articles available in 1971 adequately demonstrated that the healthy penis comes from the factory fully-equipped and that all of its parts are essential for proper development.[7] In fact, on the basis of the evidence available in 1971, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated: "There are no valid medical indications for circumcision in the neonatal period."[8] So Dr. Xxxxxx has no defense of medical advisability.

Both of my parents had completed a University education, and worked as teachers in Yyyyyyy for a number of years. Had they been made aware of the available facts in a complete and competent manner, I do not think my mother would have signed any "consent form" giving legal indemnification to Dr. Xxxxxx to carry out this harmful sex surgery on her child.[9] I cannot believe she intended that I should be harmed in any way. A parent's decision to request circumcision surgery is usually based on irrational considerations and faulty and incomplete information.[10] It is the physician's responsibility to correct any misunderstandings, and it is ultimately the physician's decision to pick up the scalpel. So Dr. Xxxxxx has no excuse from responsibility.

The thought of having been strapped down with my genitals exposed in front of Dr. Xxxxxx and his assistants, and having had them mutilated, is deeply humiliating for me. How dare he assume that I would want to be treated in this manner? There are no excuses for treating a child this way.

Sincerely yours,


[1] Hodges F. "A short history of the institutionalization of involuntary sexual mutilation in the United States." In Denniston GC, Milos MF (eds), Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy. Proc 4th Intl Symp Sexual Mutilations (Plenum 1997); pp.17-40

[2] Taylor JR et al. The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. Brit J Urol (1996), 77, 291-295

[3] Warren JP, Bigelow J. The case against circumcision. Brit J Sex Med, Sept/Oct 1994

[4] Anand KJS, Hickey PR. Pain and its Effects on the Human Neonate and Fetus. NEJM 1987;317:1321-1329

[5] Fleiss P (letter). The Lancet, Vol. 345, p.927, 8 April 1995

[6] Taddio A, Koren G et al. Effect of neonatal circumcision on pain response during subsequent routine vaccination. The Lancet, Vol. 349, pp.599-603 (March 1, 1997)

[7] Gairdner D., The Fate of the Foreskin. Brit Med J, Vol. 2, 1433-7, Dec 24 1949; see also The Lancet (15 Aug 1953): Pages 337-8; see also Winkelmann RK, The erogenous zones: Their nerve supply and significance, Proc Staff Mayo Clin 34(2): 39-47 (1959); see also Morgan WKC, The rape of the phallus, JAMA 1965; 193:123-4; see also Oster J. Further Fate of the Foreskin. Arch Dis Child, April 1968, pp.200-2; see also Preston N. "Whither the Foreskin?" JAMA 1970; 213(11)

[8] American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Fetus and Newborn. Standards and Recommendation for Hospital Care of Newborn infants. 5th ed. Evanston, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics: 1971; p.110

[9] Herrera AJ et al. Parental information and circumcision in highly motivated couples with higher education. Pediatrics 71(2), February 1983, pp.233-4

[10] Christensen-Szalanski JJ et al. Circumcision and informed consent: Is more information always better? Medical Care 25(9), September 1997, pp.856-67.

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