CBC NEWS, Monday, January 22, 2007.

P.E.I. has highest rate of circumcision in Canada

About one in three healthy baby boys is circumcised on Prince Edward Island, about double the national rate, despite the advice of experts who describe it as unnecessary and potentially risky.

Dr. Peter Anderson, a pediatric urologist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax said the procedure is most often performed because other family members are circumcised. Anderson said complications from the procedure can be severe.

"If you can think of a complication it almost certainly has happened somewhere in the world," he said, "right from the minor thing of a little bit of extra bleeding to the extreme disaster of loss of the penis."

Nova Scotia's circumcision rate is close to the lowest in Canada, just over one per cent. Anderson believes that's because the procedure is not offered at hospitals.

On P.E.I., the operation is performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. In December some Island doctors tried to have circumcision banned there, because it is not medically necessary. The issue went to a vote, and the procedures will continue.

Dr. Doug Tweel is one of the few Island doctors who perform circumcisions.

"There are many procedures done in the hospital setting that are elective procedures," said Tweel.

"If you're coming at it from that perspective, I can give you a lot of procedures that are not medically necessary."

The procedure is not covered by medicare. P.E.I. doctors charge about $50 dollars. In Nova Scotia the charge is close to $300.

(File created 23 January 2007)