New ruling is sought on circumcisionBY JOE TYRRELL
A mother will ask a Superior Court judge this morning to prevent her estranged husband from interfering with the circumcision of their 3-year-old son, but the father said he is already winning in the court of public opinion.
In the wake of the medical dispute, Jennifer Price of Clinton also will ask Judge Paul Armstrong for sole custody of her son, Matthew, according to her lawyer, Ronald Heymann.
But fresh from a taping of "The Montel Williams Show," the father, James Price of Raritan, said, "No judge in the world is going to give her sole custody to cut."
In a groundbreaking case for New Jersey, Armstrong ruled in August the procedure could go ahead based on medical advice that it would eliminate periodic pain the child suffers from inflammation.
But on Wednesday, urologist Joseph Barone postponed the scheduled surgery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick after hearing from the boy's father, Heymann said.
"We intend to bring to the court's attention that the circumcision had to be called off," Heymann said. "Dr. Barone said Mr. Price had contacted his office and threatened to sue."
A hospital spokesman confirmed the procedure had been called off, but declined to discuss details, citing patient confidentiality.
Price said he did not speak to Barone, merely faxed a letter saying he had not granted his consent to the circumcision. If the procedure went ahead, it stated he would seek "civil and criminal" penalties, and also urge his son to sue, he said.
"To me, that's not making threats, it's putting him on notice," he said.
Price said he hopes to overturn the circumcision ruling based on evidence Matthew "didn't suffer the first infection" that led Armstrong to permit the circumcision.
Since the dispute became public last week, "You have no idea the amount of people coming forward to help me protect my son," he said.
Heymann said he has no doubt the father has rallied support, because "I'm getting e-mails from 8 million circumcision groups" opposing the judge's ruling. "It's bizarro world," he said.
According to medical papers, Matthew developed a painful condition in March that caused him to scream when he urinated. His doctor determined the cause was a severe infection of the penis, usually caused by irritants in soaps and the foreskin being retracted.
Barone, a pediatric urologist, agreed with the recommendation of Grace Calimlim of PediaHealth Medical Associates that circumcision would help.
Another urologist, Marc Colton, testified the procedure was not medically necessary, but did not refute that circumcision could alleviate the problem, Armstrong said in his ruling.
But Price said the inflammation cleared up after changes in how Matthew was cleaned, indicating it was due to the irritants rather than a recurring infection.
© 2000 The Star-Ledger. Used with permission.
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