10 Horrifically Botched Circumcisions
Circumcision is one of the most common and historic surgical procedures in the world, dating as far back as ancient Egypt. Like any medical procedure, there can be serious risks involved which are often overlooked given the innumerable rate of success. But when these errors do occur, the results are not only physically devastating, but psychologically and emotionally traumatizing as well. Sometimes, people’s lives are damaged forever . . . if they’re lucky enough to survive.
10A Man’s Worst Nightmare
It’s not exactly common for an adult to undergo an elective circumcision. However, a 56-year-old Alabama man named Johnny Lee Banks Jr. decided to go ahead and do it. After the procedure, Bank’s awoke and, to his surprise, he was missing his penis. Banks and his wife filed a lawsuit claiming that Banks was in extreme pain, and his wife claimed to be suffering as well due to a “loss of consortium.”
Eventually, the lawsuit was thrown out by the judge, who claimed that Banks and his wife lacked sufficient details pertaining to the case—such as the specific time and date of the operation. The hospital’s lawyer claimed that Banks’s statements were completely false and that he was simply smearing the name of the hospital. However, the judge allowed Banks 30 days to gather his documents and file an amendment lawsuit. Banks, who has a multitude of health problems—including diabetes, which has caused him to lose his two legs due to amputation—left the courthouse in a wheelchair crying.
In January 2013, 22-day-old Ryan Heydari’s parents brought their smiling infant son into an Ontario hospital for a circumcision. It was a surgical procedure which the parents didn’t originally intend to have for their child, but they’d been persuaded by a family physician. Besides, the procedure was highly supported by the Canadian Pediatric Society. Finally, the parents agreed. They should have stuck with their initial instincts.
After the procedure, the doctor who had performed the circumcision told the parents that there was no bleeding and that the procedure was “uneventful.” However, the father claimed that his son was in fact bleeding and that it only got worse over time. Sadly, baby Ryan lost 40 percent of his blood and went into hypovolemic shock, ultimately bleeding to death. In the end, the pediatrician who’d performed the circumcision was urged by the hospital to be “mindful” next time, and the emergency room physician who’d treated Ryan was merely cautioned. The parents filed a formal complaint, which was ultimately thrown out without shedding any light on what went wrong.
8‘The Thing Was Like Gone’
In August 2013, Maggie Rhodes took her three-month-old son, Ashton, to a low-cost local clinic to get him circumcised. She immediately knew something was horribly wrong when she heard her son’s cries of pain, which she described as “life and death screams.” She immediately ran into the room to see her son’s penis terribly disfigured. From what she had seen, Rhodes stated that the doctor had cut upward on the penis instead of around the head of the penis. In her own words, “the thing was like gone.”
Rhodes ended up filing a lawsuit against Christ Community Health Services (CCHS), where the procedure took place. Although the extent of the damage is not entirely known, Rhodes’s legal representation contacted CCHS in order to set up a meeting with representatives from the clinic. They demanded documentation of credentials from the clinics staff, nurses, and doctors, but Christ Community Health Services refused to comply.
In December 2008, Keka and Steven Lorenzana of Coral Gables, Florida, took their infant son to South Miami Hospital. There, the infant underwent a circumcision by OB/GYN physician Dr. Molina. Three years later, the Lorenzanas filed a lawsuit against the doctor. The suit claimed that Dr. Molina had left too much foreskin on the ventral side of the penis. The ventral side is the skin on the bottom shaft of the penis closest to the urethra.
The Lorenzanas were initially told by pediatricians that their son would eventually “grow into it.” The parents were outraged. They said that their son was permanently scarred and that the whole thing was “unsightly.” The Lorenzanas’ lawyer, David Llewellyn, primarily focused on the emotional and psychological scarring it will have on the boy as he matures.
6Two Instead Of One
A four-year-old boy in Texas underwent an elective circumcision due to the persuasion of a pediatrician. The doctor told the parents that the procedure was necessary, since their son had a tight and redundant foreskin. After the circumcision, the doctor told the parents that their son’s surgery was successful, although there was minor bleeding. However, after a nurse checked on the child, the bleeding had intensified, and he was brought into the operating room once again.
After the second round, the child was discharged and sent home. Days later, he was in intense pain and—to his parents’ shock—urinating out of two holes. In the days following, the pain intensified, causing the child to scream and cry every time he had to urinate. The child also had to urinate sitting down to manage the two different streams of urine. His pain was apparently so bad that he begged for his penis to be cut off.
When the child began urinating blood, his parents brought him to another physician, where the boy was diagnosed with a fistula (hole) in his penis due to over-cauterization during the initial procedure. The parents filed suit against the doctor who performed the procedure, and the boy is expected to undergo numerous operations in order to correct the damage.
5The Windy City Blues
In September 2015, a Chicago woman by the name of Miriam Rodriguez gave birth to a son. At the hospital, her son underwent a circumcision, and not long after, she filed a lawsuit against the hospital as well as the doctors. She claimed that the physicians involved in the procedure had improperly circumcised her son and mutilated the boy’s penis. To be specific, Rodriguez claimed that her son, Angel, sustained disfigurement, tissue loss, and a loss of sensation.
The lawsuit is seeking reimbursement of lost wages, attorney fees, medical costs for future surgical procedures, and more than $50,000 in punitive damages. Rodriguez also claimed in the suit that since the operation, she has suffered “mental pain and anguish and loss of a normal life.” It is not clear as of now where the lawsuit will go or the severity of damage the infant endured.
4‘We’ll Forget You Never’
Brayden Tyler Frazier was just 11 days old when he died after undergoing a circumcision two days prior. The events that caused the actual death were not initially clear; however, the infant was diagnosed as a hemophiliac and began hemorrhaging uncontrollably following the procedure. Hemophilia is a condition in which one’s blood does not clot normally, thus causing one to bleed more excessively and for a longer span of time than normal.
The doctors working on the child claim that they did everything they could to stop the bleeding by providing plasma, platelets, and coagulants, but to no avail. Following the hemorrhaging, Brayden began having liver and kidney failure as well as uncontrollable seizures. Eleven-day-old Brayden Tyler Frazier’s obituary ends with the unbearably heart-wrenching words, “We’ll forget you never, the child we had but never had and yet will have forever.”
One week after Melanie Hall gave birth to her son, Terrel, she brought him to a doctor in Los Angeles to be circumcised. Moments after her son was taken into a back room for the procedure, she heard screams of terror. Horrified, she rushed in from the waiting room and found her son with the tip of his penis cut off.
According to reports, the boy lost 85 percent of the top of his penis. The mother filed a lawsuit against the company that manufactured the medical clamp used in the procedure, which she claims was faulty and botched her son’s circumcision. The plaintiff’s court filings stated that the child will need yearly visits to a pediatric urologist as well as possible future surgeries, not to mention psychiatric care for the trauma Terrel endured. Eight years later, a judge ruled in Melanie Hall’s favor, awarding her $4.7 million, $1 million of that going to her legal fees.
In September 2012, a Brooklyn infant died after contracting the herpes simplex virus type 1 following an Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual called metzitzah b’peh. In this ritual, which takes place under the ceremony known as the bris, the rabbi circumcises the infant and then places his mouth on the penis in order to draw blood away from the incision.
Apparently, this ritual takes place in order to cleanse the cut. In this case, the opposite happened. According to the chair of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University, Dr. William Schaffner, herpes in children is almost always fatal given the fact that infants do not have immunity to such a serious virus, unlike adults who can sometimes carry the virus without any symptoms. In this case, the virus most likely entered the child’s bloodstream via saliva contact with the incision, ultimately traveling to the infant’s brain and causing inflammation and brain damage.
Perhaps the most haunting story on this list is that of Bruce Reimer. In 1966, when Bruce was seven months old, he was taken to get a circumcision. The doctor, who did not routinely perform the procedure, chose to use an electric cauterizing instrument with a sharp cutting needle to remove the foreskin. However, the operation was botched and Reimer’s parents were told there was no hope for reconstructive surgery. Under the advice of psychologist John Money, the Reimers chose to raise their son as a girl, using further surgeries to turn his butchered genitalia into a vagina in addition to hormone treatment. Bruce eventually turned into “Brenda,” although he quickly rejected his new identity, once tearing off a dress his mother made for him as a young child.
Bruce’s refusal to identify as a girl occurred throughout his childhood, and when he found out his true past in his teen years—which his parents had kept secret from him—he quit his hormone treatments and took up life as a man. He changed his name to David, married, and became a stepfather to three children. In 2002, David’s brother committed suicide. More bad luck only followed. He struggled with financial difficulties after losing his job, and his wife filed for divorce. In 2004, David committed suicide. He was 38 years old.
Adam is just a hubcap trying to hold on in the fast lane.