American Health Care System Promotes Iatrogenic Illness
EDITOR--Doctors Opposing Circumcision wholeheartedly agrees with Dr. Bloom’s remarks about the sickness in the American health care system.1
The American health care system is unique in its dependence on fee-for-service in the compensation of physicians. This means that the more procedures performed, the more pay the doctors get. This incentive drives up health care costs and promotes unnecessary surgery.
One such unnecessary surgery is non-therapeutic circumcision of infant males. The United States has a higher percentage of infant males circumcised than any other country is the world, except perhaps Israel (where it is a religious requirement).
Dr Bloom expressed concern about high stress in infancy generating diseases later in life.1 Doctors Opposing Circumcision also concurs with those remarks. Neonatal circumcision is a high stress generator. Rhinehart reported PTSD in adult males; the stressor was neonatal circumcision.2 Neonatal circumcision causes a huge rise in serum cortisol.3,4 Heart rates rise to alarming levels during circumcisions.4 Blood oxygen pressure declines.5 Salk and Jacobsen associate trauma in the perinatal period with self-destructive behavior in later life.6-8
Legato has called for a “searching look” at circumcision of the newborn and “wide-ranging debate.”9 That has yet to happen. In the present, the American health care industry in America still circumcises about 55 percent of newborn boys, so we can look forward to many decades of iatrogenic physical and emotional illness in America.
Doctors Opposing Circumcision
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Seattle, Washington 98107
- Radford T. Top scientist warns of "sickness" in US health system. BMJ 2003;326:416.
- Rhinehart J. Neonatal circumcision reconsidered. Transactional Analysis Journal 1999;29(3):215-221.
- Gunnar MR, Fisch RO, Korsvik S, Donhowe JM. The effects of circumcision on serum cortisol and behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1981; 6(3)269-275.
- Williamson PS, Williamson ML. Physiologic stress reduction by a local anesthetic during newborn circumcision. Pediatrics 1983; 71(1):36-40.
- Rawlings DJ, Miller PA, Engel RR. The effect of circumcision on transcutaneous PO2 in term infants.Am J Dis Child 1980;134(7):676-8.
- Salk L, Lipsitt LP, Sturner WQ, et al.Relationship of maternal and perinatal conditions to eventual adolescent suicide. Lancet 1985;i:624-627.
- Jacobson B, Eklund G, Hamberger L, et al.Perinatal origin of adult self-destructive behavior. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1987;76(4):364-71.
- Jacobson B, Bygdeman M. Obstetric care and proneness of offspring to suicide . BMJ 1998; 317:1346-49.
- Legato MJ. Rethinking Circumcision: Medical Intervention, Religious Ceremony, or Genital Mutilation?J Gend Specif Med 2002;5(4):8-10.
Competing interests: No competing interests