Acknowledging risks would be a nice change.

This story is making the rounds today:

Nearly 19,000 people died in the United States in 2005 after being infected with virulent drug-resistant bacteria that have spread rampantly through hospitals and nursing homes, according to the most thorough study of the disease’s prevalence ever conducted.

The study also concluded that 85 percent of invasive [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] infections are associated with health care treatment. Previous research had indicated that many hospitals and long-term care centers had become breeding grounds for MRSA because bacteria could be transported from patient to patient by doctors, nurses and unsterilized equipment.

I wrote about a study involving MRSA two years ago that highlighted the frequency with which newborn males become infected. From that article:

They defined as previously healthy any child who had no hospitalizations other than at birth, and no surgery other than circumcision.

Infants die from infection as a result of circumcision, whether it’s MRSA or something else. They should be included in any study. Because they have invasive surgery imposed on them unnecessarily, they should probably be moved to the beginning of the analysis.

To be fair, I do not know which infection killed the boy in Canada in April. The news reports only indicated infection. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Circumcision is surgery. It is almost always performed on a completely healthy child boy. The risks are inherent, immediate, and unavoidable. No potential benefits – medical or cultural – can overcome that basic fact for a healthy child.

Bonus: Megan McArdle has an interesting take on MRSA and national health care here.

3 thoughts on “Acknowledging risks would be a nice change.”

  1. The connection between MRSA and infant circumcision is one of the most explosive unreported stories of our time.
    It’ll be interesting to see how the mainstream media spins this thing should the lid ever come off.

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