The Jerusalem Post Newspaper, August 14, 2000

Baby recovers from 'brit mila' amputation

By Judy Siegel

AFULA (August 14) - A baby whose penis was accidentally amputated below the corona by the mohel (ritual circumciser) and reattached by microsurgery a month ago was declared fully recovered yesterday at Ha'emek Hospital in Afula.

Hospital spokesman Danny Brenner said the baby is now able to urinate normally, and the penile blood vessels and nerves are fully functioning. The hospital reported the highly unusual incident to the Health Ministry, but Ha'emek still doesn't know the identify of the mohel, as the family refused to give his name and have not yet filed a complaint.

The parents rushed the baby to the hospital four weeks ago carrying a plastic bag with the glans penis kept in ice. Dr. Ya'acov Rosenman, deputy head of the urology department, and Dr. Boris Lachman performed the painstaking operation, which took more than eight hours.

Rabbi Yosef Weisberg, the ministry's national supervisor of ritual circumcisers, had not yet been informed of the case. "If asked, our committee will investigate. Such a thing is extremely rare, but I have heard of one or two other cases here over the year. Any mohel who does such a thing must be blind, have taken a drink, or been pushed while performing the brit mila," he said.

The fact that there is no circumcision law, "due to pressure from American Conservative, Reform, and female circumcisers who are afraid they'll be left out," means there are unlicensed mohelim, Weisberg said, but he could not estimate how many there were out of the total of several hundred practicing mohelim in the country.

Brenner said that it was possible the family would complain to the police or sue the mohel for damages now that the child had recovered, "or maybe they received payment from the circumciser to keep quiet about the incident."

Although amputation of the penis is rare in children, said Brenner, the world's top medical experts in reconnecting adult penises are in Thailand, as nearly every day, disgruntled wives cut off their husband's organs in a fit of anger or jealousy.

Cite as:
(File prepared 14 August 2000)

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