030426 - Letter to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital
I have been working against genital mutilation for years. Here's an example of one kind of work I have been doing. This is a leter to the search committee for a new CEO of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in Tallahassee, Florida. It was sent on 26 April 2003. VL
Mr. Dennis Boyle
TMH Board of Directors
Frank Gredler, M.D.
TMH Medical Executive Committee
Ms. Susan Thompson
Immediate Past Chair
TMH Board of Directors
David Saint, M.D.
Immediate Past Chair
TMH Medical Executive Committee
Mr. Larry Strom
TMH Board of Directors
Karl Hempel, M.D.
TMH Medical Executive Committee
Mr. Chuck Mitchell
TMH Board of Directors
Joe Camps, M.D.
TMH Medical Executive Committee
Mr. Jerry McDaniel
Ex officio, Chair
TMH Board of Directors
Todd Patterson, D.O.
Ex officio, Chair
TMH Medical Executive Committee
Dear TMH Search Committee:
Congratulations for seeking input from the community for your important task of selecting a new CEO for TMH. I have a suggestion for a touchstone question you could ask your candidates. It would help you differentiate knowledgeable, honest, courageous candidates from those lacking in one or more of these important traits, help separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
Ask your candidates whether TMH should be permitting non-therapeutic circumcisions of minors to be done on its premises, and then carefully observe them as they answer.
The clear and correct answer is a simple, straightforward "No. Absolutely not."
In this letter I give you some of the essential information verifying this truth and access to much more.
First I will tell you about a radical change in the US legal situation of nontherapeutic circumcision that has just occurred and that you will be hearing more about shortly from others, no doubt.
A settlement was reached very recently in the FIRST US legal case brought by a young man with a so-called "normal" circumcision, in federal court, against both the doctor who circumcised him and the not-for-profit hospital that allowed it to happen. (A Catholic hospital, by the way.)
Both the doctor and hospital settled. The amount has not been made public. I don't know whether it will be. My impression is that it is probably in excess of $25,000, may well be over $50,000, and could be over $75,000.
Take the middle figure and multiply it by 1,200,000, the approximate number of non-therapeutic "normal" circumcisions done every year in the United States. Realize that the product, around $60,000,000,000, represents the dollars available ANNUALLY from circumcisers, hospitals, and their medical insurance companies to money-hungry "normally" circumcised young US men. That's BILLION, with a "B". $5 BILLION every 30 days. $166,666,667 every 24 hours. That's enough money to pay for a lot of college educations for needlessly and medically unjustifiably sexually mutilated young men.
How many nontherapeutic circumcisions does TMH allow to be done on its premises every year? At $50,000 each, at $10,000 each, do you have the money to pay the bill? Plus your attorneys fees? To settle? To lose? Every year for the next 20? More years if you don't quit circumcising IMMEDIATELY.
Most of your CEO candidates probably will be either totally ignorant of the relevant anatomical, medical, ethical, financial and legal facts about nontherapeutic circumcision of minors, or not honest enough to share their knowledge with you openly.
Do you really want to hire a person ignorant on such an important matter to TMH's future or a dishonest coward? Somehow I don't think either of those is the kind of person you are looking for, at least I hope not, but you tell me.
IF, in the perhaps unlikely event that you find even one of them who is knowledgeable AND honest AND brave enough to speak plainly to you about this, who is completely forthright with you about it and doesn't equivocate or try to straddle both sides of the fence, put that person - male, female or otherwise - immediately at the top of your CEO list. TMH's solvency may depend on it.
Some of you know I have been working on this problem at TMH and beyond since I and my brother, Ben, were falsely arrested on the public sidewalk outside TMH along Miccosukee Road on December 17, 1970, for protesting against the totally unnecessary and heinous sex crimes being committed inside.
In jail that day with Ben, I said to him, "One day you and I will read competent scientific neuroanatomy of the human male prepuce." I was 27 years old. I'm now 59, 60 in May. THM is still allowing sex criminals to operate undisturbed inside. The main differences between 1970 and 2003 are that
1. now the anatomical and other science proving the gross criminality of nontherapeutic circumcision is completely airtight (see
2. it's not just angry young men but highly respected professional medial ethicists who say that circumcision is "criminal assault" ("Altering Baby Boys' Bodies - The Ethics of Infant Male Circumcision"
3. the big money has started flowing to the innocent victims at last, praise God!
Competent scientific neuroanatomy of the human male prepuce was finally published in 1996 in the British Journal of Urology, 26 years after Tallahassee jailed Ben and me for trying to protect babies from circumcisers. The BJU published a confirming study in 1999. You may read that scientific evidence for yourselves at http://research.cirp.org
In my opinion, it would be a very good idea for you not only to read it but to understand it as well. It isn't rocket science. Most US men and women just don't WANT to understand it. They want to ignore it, stay ignorant of it, and failing that, to MISunderstand it. None of these cowardly efforts at denial will change the scientific facts that TMH will be forced by the law to live with, if it chooses that hard, stupid route and does not choose the far easier and smarter route of living with them voluntarily.
Circumcision is damned whichever route TMH chooses, so why not choose the less risky and more intelligent, more humane route? It's late in the process to do so, but maybe still not quite too late. TMH could pretend to be a modern, progressive, leading hospital. It's still not entirely too late to do that. It might be worth a lot in the future to beat Tallahassee Community Hospital to the punch now. I have started working on them too, but TMH has a 32 year head start. Isn't that enough? WIN! In America, what else is there?
I knew that the neuroanatomy of the human male prepuce would prove to be very interesting, but I had no idea that it would be as interesting as it is. What these medical anatomists discovered, easily when they finally looked, was a major human sense organ new to science. ASTONISHING that science had (consciously? deliberately? purposefully?) overlooked a major human sense organ until nearly the 21st century! It is located in the inner foreskin, in the mucosal tissues. The discoverers, Taylor, Lockwood and Taylor, named it the "ridged band". It contains by far the highest density of nerve endings yet discovered in the penis.
And it isn't just nerve endings, as eyes aren't, as ears aren't, as noses and the tongue aren't. It has its own highly complex biostructural reality in which those nerve endings are strategically embedded, just as eyes and ears and noses and tongues do. Far from being "just a tiny piece of skin", the adult human male prepuce is a large, highly organized complex of skin, nerve, muscle, vascular and other tissues, all of which together perform MANY essential human functions throughout life, from physically protective to sensory to immunological to erogenous to biomechanical and sexual.
You mean normal human sexual structures have normal human sexual functions? MY GOD! WHAT A STUPENDOUS SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY!
The skin area missing from the adult male penis circumcised in infancy averages 15 square inches, the size of a 3" x 5" index card, some are much larger, and contains the highest density of nerve endings known to exist in the penis. It is many square inches of pure sexual firepower. Chopping it up, amputating it and throwing it away or selling it to the highest bidder because nineteenth century quacks thought doing so would cause enough genital pain and prevent enough sexual pleasure to stop masturbation and therefore prevent insanity (see
Nontherapeutic circumcision is fundamentally a mental/emotional illness in circumcisers. Treat THAT ILLNESS, not normal male anatomy instead. Doctors are supposed to treat serious illness, not perfect health. Circumcision/genital mutilation illness can be deadly, for both victims of it, "patient" and circumciser.
I call the sense organ in the male foreskin - containing tens of thousands of Meisner's corpuscles and other nerve endings - the male's "sexual eye" in honor of my Harvard biology professor, the Jewish Nobel Laureate, George Wald, the man who discovered vitamin A in the retina of the eye and how it works there with light to form the molecular/energetic basis of vision. He was the first human being to understand how the visual pigments change shape as they absorb a photon of light, and change back as they give it up again, many times every second. It is this vibration of the molecule that life has learned to use, in four independent evolutionary lines - insects, mollusks, vertebrates, and (what's the 4th one?) - to set off nerve impulses to the brain that result in vision.
My presentation to the 16th World Congress of Sexology, held March 10-14, 2003, in Havana, Cuba, about George Wald's essay entitled "Circumcision", an important and historic essay he wrote in 1975, is now available at http://StopInfantCircumcision.org/ via the link there under "Dr. George Wald - Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine 1967", which takes you directly to my presentation to the 1,700 sexologists in Cuba last month:
Dr. Francis Crick, discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule, is mentioned in my paper as one of the original endorsers of the "Ashley Montagu Resolution to End the Genital Mutilation of Children Worldwide: A Petition to the World Court, the Hague", written by developmental neuropsychologist James Prescott, Ph.D., and named by him for the anthropologist, Ashley Montagu, Ph.D., both also signers of the Montagu Resolution together with Dr. Jonas Salk and many others. The Montagu Resolution is available now for your endorsement, too, and everyone else's, at
I urge TMH to face this reality and lead. Precedent has already been set for this by an Australian health concern, Hunter Health, which this month, on 2 April 2003, announced that neonatal circumcisions would no longer be allowed at any of its facilities. You may see their announcement at http://maitland.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=local&category=health&story_id=219024&y=2003&m=4
The British Medical Association has just come out with new guidelines for nontherapeutic circumcisions. See "the law & ethics of male circumcision - guidance for doctors - March 2003" at http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/malecircumcision2003 and at
The British National Health Service, by the way, quit paying for nontherapeutic circumcisions in 1950, after an excellent article on the subject, "The Fate of the Foreskin", was published in the British Medical Journal of 24 December 1949. You can read it at
The same process happened in Canada where all but one province now refuses to fund it.
And it's happening here, too. Five US states in just the last 9 months have quit paying Medicaid taxes for nontherapeutic circumcisions; Arizona, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, and Utah. They join California, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington state, all of which quit paying some time earlier. That's 22%, over 1/5th of the states that have quit now.
Florida may not be so far behind. I have found most of Florida's legislators, although agonizingly slow on the subject, not nearly as slow as most of Florida's physicians and hospital boards. (Update: Florida became the 12th state to quit, on 1 July, 2003. Florida has more recently been followed by Maine, Louisana, Idaho, and Minnesota, making a total of 16 states that no longer fund nontherapeutic, medically unnecessary, "elective" [but not elective for the boy whose penis it actually is] circumcisions as of August 2005. Over 30% now, nearly 1/3rd.)
Australia has nearly stopped circumcising and New Zealand now has one of the lowest rates in the English-speaking world, which is the only part of the world, by the way, to ever broadly adopt medicalized circumcision in the first place.
Statements from medical societies throughout the world have been collected at this site,
"In September 2002, under the lead of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), Paediatrics and Child Health Division, six major medical societies of Australasia developed a unified position statement on male circumcision. All six medical societies (the RACP, Australian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, New Zealand Society of Paediatric Surgeons, Urological Society of Australasia, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and Paediatric Society of New Zealand) have now corroborated the Canadian Paediatric Society, declaring that circumcision of newborn males should not be routinely performed. The new statement firmly declares: 'There are no medical indications for routine male circumcision.'"
The RACP's full statement is available at http://www.racp.edu.au/hpu/paed/circumcision/
Last year Saskatchewan's College of Physicians and Surgeons warned physicians strongly, in two separate memos, against performing nontherapeutic circumcisions, for all the now-obvious reasons. They emphasized ethical problems and the "long-tail liability", two decades for physicians reckless enough to mutilate healthy genitals and hospitals foolish enough to allow them to do so in hospital facilities:
Nontherapeutic circumcision is ending now because it is too damaging and dangerous not only to its usually youthful victims, but also, at long last, to the perpetrators as well.
The fact that I emailed all of this information to you today will remain in my records for future legal reference and use if necessary. I work closely with Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC), a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization started by a Harvard Law School graduate and staffed by some of the most intelligent, aggressive, articulate, dedicated, humane, and determined attorneys it has ever been my privilege and pleasure to meet. I wish I had had their services available to me in 1970. We would live in a different world today if I had.
I have been providing much information such as the information in this email to your COO, Dr. Edward Carney, for several years. I provided much of such information to a former board chair of TMH, Mr. Chuck Mitchell of your present committee, and to his entire board. The records of my certified mailings and receipt thereof by TMH's Board and Chair and COO are intact and ready for the first available lawsuit against TMH.
Wouldn't it be far better for TMH to respond out of concern for its patients than its pocketbook? In over 32 years I have not found it capable of doing so. That is why I have been reduced to working on the legal front. If doctors and hospitals adamantly refuse to take any adult responsibility for ending this madness then lawyers have to, are doing so now. They are hard at work today and will be tomorrow and the next day. Medical doctors and hospital boards for the most part seem too terrified to change course, frozen in fear, like a deer in the headlight of an onrushing train, or too blind to even see the light.
If you haven't already, learn the terrible story of the medical profession's repressive response to the childbed fever discoveries of Ignaz Semmelweis, M.D., in the mid 19th century, about the same time circumcision was getting started in Anglo medicine. Look him up in Google. Fifty years it took official medicine to admit that Semmelweis was right about doctors killing women and children with childbed fever by spreading the contamination with their own hands. In 150 years official US medicine has not been able to admit its terrible mistake of mutilating babies' healthy sex organs with its own hands. The USA is the only country in the world circumcising the majority of its infant males for non-religious reasons, and even Israel is probably not circumcising the majority of its male babies because so many Israelis are Arabs who wait until later in childhood to sexually blind their children. The best time to circumcise a person is not 24 hours or 8 days or 8 years after s/he is born, but 80 years after s/he dies.
Why is the medical profession STILL so incredibly and adamantly resistant to self-correction? Is it simply doctors' grossly overblown egos that prevent them from admitting their own obvious mistakes, even to themselves? Doctors and hospital boards keep patting themselves on the back as the train bears down from behind. Will even ONE of you turn around and look at what's coming? I believe you have serious responsibilities to TMH and to the broader Tallahassee community to do so, responsibilities that you undertook voluntarily and willingly. All I am asking is that you do your job.
All I am asking is that TMH remove itself from the train tracks as soon as possible. Take the fatal noose from around TMH's and your own necks.
All I have been doing for the last 32 years is trying the help. I'm still trying.
Please ask Dr. Brickler, Sr., why he no longer mutilates the healthy penises of healthy babies. I have been told by someone else that he quit at the turn of the millennium. Dr. Brickler has not responded to several messages I have left for him about this, nor to the recent new book I left for him several months ago, "What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About CIRCUMCISION: Untold Facts About America's Most Common - And Most Unnecessary - Surgery", by Paul Fleiss, M.D., a well-regarded pediatrician in LA (who happens to be Jewish), and Frederick Hodges, Ph.D., an Oxford history-of-medicine graduate, the best of the three best history-of-medicine doctoral programs in the world, I'm told. His Oxford doctoral dissertation is on the history of medicalized circumcision.
I also donated a copy of this important new Warner book to your COO several months ago and one to Mr. Jerry McDaniel of your committee more recently. I'll be happy to give one to any of you who want one. Just email me at VanLewis@MontaguNOCIRCpetition.org and let me know where you want me to drop your personal copy off. (I'm a little low on stock at the moment. First come first served, but I'll get more.)
Examine the medical information at http://DoctorsOpposingCircumcision.org.
Not ALL doctors are frozen in fear or totally clueless. Not all hospitals are frozen in the past. A relatively few are thawing out, waking up to the roar of the train. The screams of the babies for a century and a half haven't been loud enough to awaken most. Why is that? Why don't circumcisers hear the screams and smell the vomit? What is wrong with them?
I witnessed this myself in person. A physician-circumciser I know well invited me to attend one of his circumcisions in order to prove to me that there is nothing wrong with it. I went. The circumciser had decided he was going to do an "experiment" on this kid (medical ethics, anyone?) and do "only" a dorsal slit to make it "less traumatic" and "less damaging" and to "prevent bleeding. There aren't any blood vessels in the centerline", he pontificated.
This baby started screaming with the very first tearing away of the prepuce from the glans, more violently than any screams I have ever heard in my life from any human or animal. The screams were interrupted by the vomiting, projectile, the most violent vomiting I have ever witnessed from any human or animal. I am told that sometimes babies rupture their stomachs from the violence of the vomiting during circumcision, break arms or legs against the "circumstraint". This is genitally mutilative sexual child abuse, plain and simple. Anybody who does it to a healthy minor should go to jail for a LONG time. Whatever happened to "Primum, non nocere", "First, do no harm"?
When the "simple cut" was made the blood started spurting everywhere, necessitating stitching. With every puncture of the needle, more violent screaming. With every drawing through penile flesh of the thread, more projectile vomiting. Screaming and vomiting and blood spurting everywhere and finally, before the end but not by much, the baby was knocked totally unconscious by the pain and trauma. He went totally limp.
This is a truthful, accurate description of this tragic event that I witnessed personally, myself, with my own eyes. I did not make it up. The criminal circumciser is too old and feeble and incompetent now (according to his protective daughter) to be forced to confirm my account.
To make the scene all the more repulsive from my point of view, the circumciser was white, the baby black, the event taking place in the US south where white men have been butchering black men's penises for centuries. (See "Before His Time", a riveting Florida history by Ben Green.)
On the way out of the hospital what does the idiot (with apologies to the real idiots) circumciser ask me?
"Did you have any objection to that?"
The circumciser hadn't even noticed the baby. He was (or pretended to be?) totally clueless. WHY? Was he too focused on the surgery to notice? After over 5,000 (he said) of these completely mad, Frankenstinean penis butcheries, had he just tuned the baby out entirely, in order to be able to accomplish his evil penis mutilation madness in "peace"? You tell me. I don't understand it. Not in the least.
Did I want to kick this circumciser in the balls with every gram of strength I had and then ask HIM, "Did you have any objection to THAT?"
Instead, idiot (with apologies to the real idiots, at least they have a legitimate excuse) gentleman that I am, I said, "I think the baby objected to it."
One day men are going to stop being polite to circumcisers and start kicking, or more likely pulling triggers as David Reimer almost did. Read all about it in the recent book, "As Nature Made Him", by John Colapinto.
You mark my words, every one of you. When men learn what was stolen from them in infancy and the consequences of that mad butchery, circumcisers will be in real physical danger from their victims. I know men who would gladly kill their circumcisers if they could identify and find them. Mine was in mortal danger one day around 1969 - I met with him then, I could have killed him on the spot and I DAMN sure wanted to, BAD - before I finally decided to take the non-violent path in life. Circumcision might have ended a lot sooner if I had killed him then. He died of natural causes, never realizing how close he came to a premature, violent, gruesome death at my hands. Clueless, he was, like most of them. A mighty horrible experience for me, though, as was my circumcision.
And I only realized a couple of years ago that I don't know for a fact that he is the one who actually circumcised me. Had I killed him, I might have been killing the wrong circumciser. He delivered me and had some responsibility for my welfare and probably did it, but he may not have. I don't really know who did it. I'm glad I didn't kill him now, but it took every ounce of self-discipline I could muster at the time not to.
Talk about fear. Talk about frozen in the headlights. No WONDER circumcisers feel they can't change. Today's circumcision "justifies" yesterday's. That's what it's FOR. And prepares the way for tomorrow's, which then will be used to "justify" today's.
But NO nontherapeutic circumcision can stand on its own. It's today's babies who are paying the price for all these many decades of dishonesty and fear on the part of those of us calling ourselves "adults".
Baby's mutilation today "proves" to dad that his own mutilation decades back was "necessary, or at least better, or at least harmless", too. In place of science or just plain childish common sense we allow ourselves to be convinced by irreversible, lifetime sexual mutilation of innocent babies. What a sickness! After that, NOBODY dares to face the horrible truth that here in 21st century USAmerica we are genitally mutilating for life and sometimes thereby killing babies for NOTHING. What a terrible sickness. And on and on and on it goes, and where it stops, nobody knows.
Oh. I didn't tell you. NO NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD TODAY RECOMMENDS NONTHERAPEUTIC CIRCUMCISION. More and more of them are recommending strongly against it.
Got that? Do you understand that? Do you realize what that means?
Why don't they recommend it?
Because their lawyers won't let them.
Because there is no competent scientific evidence that evolution and/or God made a mistake by building penises correctly, or that circumcisers improve healthy penises by butchering them. There never will be any.
Should we remove healthy ears and eyelids of babies too "make hygiene easier"? Extract sound teeth of babies to prevent cavities? Amputate healthy breasts of baby girls and boys to prevent breast cancer? (Breast cancer is more common in males than penile cancer. Surely we could at least remove baby BOYS' "useless" breasts to protect old men from breast cancer, couldn't we?) Let's chop out hearts of babies to prevent heart attacks in old people! Behead babies to prevent brain cancer! If we cut EVERYTHING off of the baby there will be NOTHING LEFT TO GO WRONG and the baby will live FOREVER! With NO MEDICAL BILLS! Medicine can establish PERFECT HEALTH FOREVER in the entire population (except for the last butcher standing) and put itself out of business entirely, by carrying prophylactic circumcision to its logical conclusion. The triumph of modern medicine over human disease at last.
Members of this committee are uniquely positioned to move TMH forward on this issue. You are also uniquely positioned on the train tracks. Not every hospital in the country has been as carefully and well prepared for court as TMH has, more's the pity. This train is coming whether I help it along or not, but I have built a well-marked spur pointed directly at TMH. The final segment of track has just been laid at YOUR door. EACH ONE OF YOU IS INDIVIDUALLY AND PERSONALLY LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE AND LEGALLY LIABLE. Nobody can stop this train. Can't SOMEBODY on this committee see the danger coming? Is EVERYBODY blinded by the onrushing headlight?
ARC attorney: What did you know and when did you know it?
TMH search committee member: All this is news to me.
ARC attorney: Have you ever seen this email before?
TMH search committee member: Never.
ARC attorney: How about this certified letter with your signature on the return receipt?
Look. I'm selfish. I want a solvent hospital in Tallahassee. Is that such a terrible crime? Can ANYBODY up there accept ANY responsibility for TMH's financial safety, if not patient safety and human rights? Have ANY of you, has even ONE of you ever heard the term, "risk management"? Forward this email to your risk management office, if you have one.
Does TMH have a medical ethics department? If so, send one to your medical ethics office, too. Make them earn their pay.
And WHY does this have to be so hard? WHY? Can ANYBODY up there tell me? I want ONE of you to send me ONE honest email answering this communication completely and competently, in detail and in depth. ONE. Answer every question I ask you and respond honestly and competently to everything in this email, paragraph by paragraph. Don't leave ONE out.
I'm not holding my breath. I'm providing ARC's attorneys a copy of this communication to you.
The train is coming. Move or be moved. The choice is yours. Further delay only hurts everyone. Find cash somewhere else, not out of defenseless babies' innocent, healthy penises.
You are all completely mad to allow even ONE circumciser to butcher even ONE more healthy baby's only penis for life in TMH. Every one of you. Loony as fruitcakes. Totally insane.
Have you no sense of personal responsibility? Have you no shame? No guilt? No fear? No love? Have you no human feeling left at all?
I await your response. Patiently. I've been waiting for over 32 years for SOMEONE in TMH to go sane on this issue, I can wait a few days longer.
(Update: As of August, 2005, I've heard nothing from anyone.)
I can, but the babies can't, and they are the only ones who count with me anymore. "Adults", so-called, can go take a flying leap as far as I'm concerned, every one of you. Just don't do it off the top floor of TMH. It's too long a fall. You might hurt whatever is left of your precious and only body for life.
P.O. Box 323
Panacea, Florida 32346
Cc: Mary Ann Lindley
Doctors Opposing Circumcision
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child
Stop Infant Circumcision Society
"The greatest crime against humanity
is the torture and mutilation of children."
James Prescott, Ph.D.