JEWISH CHRONICLE, London, Friday 18 August 2001.

Newcastle Mohel Denies GMC Charge

By Gaby Wine

REFORM movement leaders have voiced support for Peter Silverstone, the retired doctor at the centre of a General Medical Council hearing into alleged "botched" circumcisions.

It was claimed at the London hearing that Mr. Silverstone failed properly to anaethetise two boys under-going non-religious circumcisions, causing them to scream uncontrollably.

Although the retired obstetrician and gynaecologist had performed religious circumcisions, he had "insufficient" medical experience, it was said.

The hearing was also told that one of the boys bled for several hours after being sent home, requiring two stitches to his penis.

The parents of the two boys were allegedly pressed by Tyne and Wear GP Michael Harbinson to have them circumcised to alleviate medical problems.

Dr Harbinson had referred them to Mr Silverstone, from Newcastle, who was paid from the GP's fund-holding budget.

Both men deny serious professional misconduct through the provision of sub-standard treatment.

Speaking to the JC on Wednesday, a prominent member of Newcastle Reform Synagogue -- to which Mr. Silverstone belonged before a recent move to London -- paid tribute to his skills a mohel.

The congregant, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "He was very good. He has done a number of brises for us, and we never had any trouble. They were all highly successful."

Mr. Silverstone is a member of the Association of Reform and Liberal Mohelim, whose chairman, Nigel Zoltie, is due to be a witness at the GMC hearing.

He said: "We are supportive of Peter Silverstone because he is a member of the association, but we have no comment to make on the allegations, because these were not religious circumcisions."

Mr. Zoltie stressed that he would be involved in the case, "not as chair of the mohelim association, but as an expert on circumcision."

The hearing is expected to last for two weeks.
[See also: Circumcisions 'were botched by retired doctor']

Cite as:
(File prepared 20 August 2001)

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