Top Norwegian doctor wants circumcision phased out / News / The Foreigner

Top Norwegian doctor wants circumcision phased out. Male circumcision could become a thing of the past in Norway. Professor Trond Markestad, head of the Norwegian Medical Association’s (NMA/Den Norske Legeforeningen) ethics committee, would like to see it replaced. “It’s against important medical ethics and is unnecessary. There’s no medical reason for having it done, it’s painful for some days afterwards, and there’s a possibility of complications,” he tells The Foreigner. Male circumcision is a Jewish and Muslim religious tradition that goes back thousands of years. He takes issue with the some of the physical beliefs surrounding it.

circumcision, jews, muslims, trond, markestad, norwegian, medical, association, den, norske, legeforeningen, rolf, kirschner, rikshospitalet, university, hospital, anaesthetic, ethics, surgery,



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Top Norwegian doctor wants circumcision phased out

Published on Monday, 9th August, 2010 at 21:28 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 9th August 2010 at 21:41.

Male circumcision could become a thing of the past in Norway. Professor Trond Markestad, head of the Norwegian Medical Association’s (NMA/Den Norske Legeforeningen) ethics committee, would like to see it replaced.

Baby pram from 1910
Baby pram from 1910
Photo: Freilichtmuseum Massing/Wikimedia Common


“Inappropriate”

“It’s against important medical ethics and is unnecessary. There’s no medical reason for having it done, it’s painful for some days afterwards, and there’s a possibility of complications,” he tells The Foreigner.

Male circumcision is a Jewish and Muslim religious tradition that goes back thousands of years. He takes issue with the some of the physical beliefs surrounding it.

“The old tradition doesn’t use an anaesthetic. It’s argued the infant’s nerve system hasn’t developed by the time it’s performed on the eighth day, so it couldn’t feel pain. But this has been shown to be wrong. Infants do feel pain, they just can’t express it.”

Markestad, a specialist in children’s diseases, doesn’t believe banning the procedure is the answer, however. He claims this will lead to the practise disappearing underground, leading to boys suffering even more.

“There are many ways of performing a circumcision, but it should be carried out by doctors with the necessary medical skill and using adequate anaesthesia by injecting a local one at the root of the penis. Anaesthetic cream is inadequate.”

Discrimination

“Circumcision’s a cultural, religious, and political issue that returns periodically here. Culturally, Norwegians are still not used to people looking and being different to them. There’s also a religious and political polarisation between Muslims and an otherwise homogenous Norwegian society.

“Unfortunately, it may also be associated with remains of classical anti-Semitism, as well as the newly-emerging anti-Islam,” says Rolf Kirschner, senior physician at  Rikshospitalet University Hospital’s women’s clinic, and former head of the Jewish religious community in Oslo.

Kirschner thinks the issue of circumcision is all part of what is a general trend of medical ethics against the practise of mutilating the body, combined with the individual rights of children.

“The medical community believes circumcision harms the rights of children. I’d like it more if they discuss how else their rights are often harmed, what with maltreatment, child pornography etc.”

He suggests the health authorities should man themselves up and follow the advice given to the Directorate of Health ten years ago by committees he led.

“We recommended how, and where it should be performed. They should make it possible for people to be circumcised properly by the national health service by dedicated doctors; at a special fee not underground,” says Kirschner.

The practise used to be standard, but was stopped in the early part of this century. Kirschner claims this was because it was carried out by doctors in between other tasks; often hurriedly, and by those who didn’t want to do it.

“Professor Markestad says he’s against circumcision and would like to see it phased out.”

“I respect his points of view. His committee should deal equally with other things children and young people do to their bodies, like the practise of tattooing, piercing, plastic surgery, and liposuction,” he says.

Temporary

Markestad only sees hospital circumcision as an interim compromise. He argues the ritual should be stopped altogether.

“I urge the Jewish and Muslim communities to find an alternative religious ceremony.”

“Have you any suggestions?”

“I don’t know the religious practices well enough. It’s up to the communities to discuss it themselves,” says Markestad.

Do you think male circumcision should be banned? Discuss your views in our forum.



Published on Monday, 9th August, 2010 at 21:28 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 9th August 2010 at 21:41.

This post has the following tags: circumcision, jews, muslims, trond, markestad, norwegian, medical, association, den, norske, legeforeningen, rolf, kirschner, rikshospitalet, university, hospital, anaesthetic, ethics, surgery, .





  
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