Monday, July 25, 2011

The Ghost of Mogen

Advocates of circumcision always minimize circumcision to "just a little snip with little to no risks." They always say "there are no risks, and if there are, they're worth it." When you present them examples of circumcisions gone wrong, they will always say "Oh, well that's just a once in a million case. Circumcision mishaps don't ever happen when a professional does it." Well, in this blog post I'm going to talk about a very real risk that circumcision advocates may not tell you about. The following circumcision mishap is one that is so common that there have already been numerous court cases; glans amputation.

In a very recent case, a judge approved a $4.6 million settlement on a behalf of a boy who lost the head of his penis in a botched circumcision attempt. The doctor who performed the circumcision used a Mogen clamp, a device notorious for glans amputations, even when used by professionals. So notorious is the Mogen clamp for glans amputations that the company that makes this device went out of business last year, because it couldn't afford the $11 million dollar lawsuit filed against it, after a mohel severed the end of another baby's glans using one of their clamps. A year after Mogen goes out of business, we are still hearing of the damage their clamp is causing.

The peculiar thing about Mogen is that until the very end, they claimed that injury was impossible with the use of their clamp, even after other glans amputations were reported. The injury behind a prior lawsuit at Fulton County Superior Court had already put Mogen on notice about the danger of the device. In a different case, at South Fulton Medical Center, another law suit was won in 2009. In that case, a child lost a third of his glans, and the plaintiffs were awarded 2.3 million dollars.

I'm afraid that this may not be the last we hear of Mogen glans amputations yet. Despite going out of business in America, and despite its notoriety for glans amputations, Mogen clamps are being used in a pilot project to have male children circumcised at birth under the pretext of HIV prevention in Kenya. They are currently being used in Rwanda to circumcise newborns under the pretext of "HIV prevention." In light of the fact that newborn children aren't at risk for sexually transmitted HIV, and in light of the fact that there are already better, more effective, less invasive modes of prevention, how is taking this risk conscionable?

Until the next apparition of  Mogen's ghost... *sigh*

UPDATE (added 7/28/2011):
It utterly infuriates me that the WHO has been effectively pissing in our mouths and calling it rain... "Circumcision would only be offered to consenting adults," they promised. Well why in the hell have they approved circumcision devices for infant male circumcision? Given what I presnt above, why have they approved MOGEN of all torture devices? What in the world are these people THINKING??? GEEZ. Pisses me off.


  1. Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh. Horrible, simply horrible.

  2. I did not know that about the manufacturer of the Mogen going out of business because of lawsuits. I have a feeling that's what's going to end MGM in this country, lawsuits.

    Have you ever read The Devil in Massachusetts? About the Salem witch trials? I didn't know until I read that book that that's what stopped the witch trials dead in their tracks. A man accused of witchcraft filed a lawsuit against his accusers.

    See what I'm driving at here? A community's attachment to a seemingly intractable system of magical thinking causes senseless violence. You sue the perpetrators. Problem solved.

    I think it's a strategy that bears looking into.

  3. Unfortunately more than one company manufactures and supplies Mogen Clamps so we will likely not hear the end of them anytime soon. The individual company is not responsible for the design, they just arrange for manufacture and sell an instrument for the sole purpose of making profit. Unlike the Mogen Company, most of these companies also make other things like toenail clippers, scissors, probes, packers, forceps, bone rongeurs, scalpel handles, currettes etc; none of which they have a hand in designing, nor are they responsible for the education on proper use of these medical instruments. These companies are not pro-circumcision, and if there were no market, they wouldn't make the stuff at all. Really, this is like blaming the manufacturer of a scalpel handle or biopsy punch or any other instrument because a doctor didn't use it correctly. We don't blame car manufacturers for accidents caused by reckless drivers.
    If responsibility was placed appropriately on the performing clinician/mohel in more cases of injury, maybe they'd think twice before cutting babies.