Circumcision. A very private choice that parents have to make when their little fellows enter the world, To snip or not to snip was a heavy burden to bear when we learned we were having a baby boy. After much research (including advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics) we decided to keep our son's parts the way they arrived in this world.... intact.
This blog entry is not an anti-circumcision rant or anything of the sort. It is not my business what your family chose to do with your son's private parts. The point of this entry is to bring awareness because due to a disturbing event at our Nephrologist's office last week I was forced to file an official complaint with the Medical Director against the individuals involved in the story I am about to tell.
As mentioned in my previous entry, it was discovered that my son has a "horseshoe kidney" and because he has never had any issues with UTI's or his urine flow, I decided against Googling the subject, as I have the tendency to *ahem* obsess over facts and compare data and drive myself mad.
Alas, instead of going into a kidney Doctor's office to learn of what it meant for our son to have a fused internal organ we ran into several issues. First, they did not even have the records from his previous renal scan and pointlessly put him through a second scan which I found out today is not readable due to a "technical difficulty" and instead they want me to put him through a nuclear test to inject him with dye in order to check the functionality of his kidneys and to also do an MRI at the same time. Ugh. Second, we had to wait over an hour past our appointment time before we even got to see the Nurse who insisted on blowing vanilla scented bubbles at our son in an attempt to distract him from the blood pressure cuff, only he has Sensory Processing Disorder so the bubbles sent him over the edge and then they were unable to even get his blood pressure because he got some overwhelmed and upset by having wet things bursting on his skin in a scent he found appalling.
Then, the big no-no happened. The nurse informed us he'd need to have a urine bag on in order to get a urine sample. Okay - no big deal. We've done that many times ourselves and have never had an issue. Yet, for some reason she announced "I'm going to retract is foreskin" WHILE trying to forcibly retract his foreskin. I told her "NO, you do NOT do that" and she continued. I told her NO again and she continued. Then my husband stepped up beside her and repeated NO again at which point I could see by the look on my son's face that she was causing him discomfort and I had to go under her arms and smack them and her hands up and away from my son's genitals. I was LIVID.
There was no apology from her for inappropriately touching my son's genitals. She did not ask permission before doing this to him and she did not listen when I told her no. She then argued with me that she was "checking for bacteria" and threatened to catheter him "if the urine sample came back tainted". I tried explaining to her that is not something that you do to an intact foreskin and she tried telling me differently.
When we finally got to meet the specialist he immediately questioned us about not allowing the nurse to retract our son's foreskin and decided to take a look at it himself and informed us our son has phimosis, that we'd need to go see a Urologist and all because our son's foreskin does not retract. (it is normal for it not to!) What should have been an appointment meant to discuss our son's abnormal kidney became an appointment about our son's penis just because his foreskin is still attached. Our son has never had a UTI or any other issue with his
This fact is NORMAL. In fact, I even called the hospital's nursing hotline and asked for them to advise me on the proper care of the foreskin where they confirmed in fact that it should never be forcibly retracted and that by doing so they could have caused sever pain and bleeding. Had I not smacked her hands off of my son's penis she could have possibly permanently damaged his foreskin which in turn could require us to circumcised him. We were made to feel as if we had done something wrong and were informed we needed to go see a urologist because his foreskin does not fully retract over the glans.
I guess I'm just writing this because I am sure there are other parents out there who could have this happen to them. I'm writing this because I want the nurses and doctors to know that they can be liable for damages to a child if they do actually retract a child's foreskin forcibly including an assault and battery charge. Particularly when that nurse doesn't have the parent's permission to do so and especially when they don't listen to the parent or stop when told to do so.
I am TIRED of pies poor health care and doctors/nurses who aren't fully educated in their area. How can I trust a man who is a kidney specialist if he doesn't understand the basic anatomy of a natural penis? This does not compute for me or his father so we called our lovely Geneticist gal and let her know that we need a second opinion at the University Hospital instead. This requires a two hour drive and another day of lost wages for my husband due to someone else's negligence and seriously inadequate knowledge of something that should be common knowledge.
This mama is no longer taking these issues in stride. I will not stand by and hope that the "professionals" know what they are doing. So, that is that. My son is intact and I'm sure if he could talk he'd say he'd like to keep it that way. Don't ever let anyone touch your child in a way in which makes you (or your child) feel uncomfortable. Do not be afraid to say NO. Do not be afraid to remove their hands if they do not stop. Do not be afraid to inform someone's superior of their failings. People can't learn if they aren't told that they are wrong and they can't fix it if they aren't corrected. If anything... maybe this will save another little boy from a terrible and painful mistake on the part of an uneducated nurse and doctor.