Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Was this a circumcision death?

Some stories are just far too strange, I'm overwhelmed by this one.

Ryan White, born Dec. 6 1971 was circumcised 3 days later. The bleeding didn't stop, even after stitches. He was found to be hemophiliac (hemophilia is a severe risk factor for circumcision, known since the old time of the Jews). He received weekly transfusions of Factor VIII, a blood product created from a pool of blood of non-hemophiliacs.

On December of 1984 (13 years later) he became ill with pneumonia and had part of his lung removed. At that time he was found to have HIV. He died in April 1990.

One question is, is this a circumcision death?

Being hemophiliac, he was very likely to have bled to death through the circumcision wound. Factor VIII may have stopped him from dying at that moment, but ultimately caused his death by infecting him with HIV.

Many people (usually parents who have circumcised and would not consider that circumcision may be harmful) point that every surgery has risks (i.e., the mother whose blog entry I re-posted yesterday). While this is true, it's also true that circumcision of a baby is an elective surgery. It's not done to treat a disease or condition. If you leave the baby in his natural state (intact, or not circumcised) he won't die from being left intact and he won't suffer a major complication. Compared to that, the alternative of performing an unneeded surgery demands zero tolerance for errors or complications.

Under the expectation of benefits or cultural compliance, parents who circumcise their babies are not expecting their baby to suffer a major complication or die, not when doctors keep saying how safe the procedure is.

In this case, circumcision was very likely to cause Ryan's death just from uncontrollable bleeding. And circumcision was ultimately the original reason why he ever needed a drug made from blood, which would be the reason why he became infected with HIV.

Ryan, you would be my age. I wish this had not happened to you.

I learned about this in this facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CircumcisionKILLS 

I also read about it in Circumstitions News and in The Ball State University Daily News

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