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July's meeting started off with discussion of various current events regarding circumcision.
First off was a recent tragedy in the news, the death of a baby boy in Ontario, Canada, following a neonatal circumcision. The official cause of death had been septic shock, due to an infection of the child's circumcision wound which apparently spread through the child's body and caused multi-organ failure. This is a sobering reminder of the one of the immediate risks of circumcision, or for that matter any surgery performed on an infant.
On a lighter note, the group next discussed a poll on MSNBC.com, which asked the question: "Do you think that newborn boys should be circumcised?" 57% of respondents had answered "NO, Baby boys should not be circumcised at birth." Note: Overall circumcision rate has declined from close to 90% to about 50% in the last 30 years (various sources differ on the percentages).
We next discussed a study on the sensitivity of both circumcised and intact penises, which had been published in the April 2007 issue of BJU International, an internationally known scientific peer-reviewed journal formerly known as the British Journal of Urology. The study, Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis, can be found online at BJU International's website for free as a webpage or in PDF format. Researchers mapped pressure thresholds at various locations in both circumcised and uncircumcised penises, and then compared the two groups. The conclusion stated, "It appears that circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis." [Ablate: To excise, amputate or otherwise destroy the biological function of a body or tissue.]
One of our regular participants told about his recent visit to the urology department at the UCLA medical center. In the waiting room there was a mother and her baby son. Our participant then moved to a consultation room with one of the staff. In the next room a baby began to cry and scream with increasing volume, terror, and extreme distress. The baby boy from the waiting room was being circumcised. This was a traumatic event for our NORM-Socal participant to hear.