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This is why the then Harvard Community Health Plan tried to delist circumcision as a covered service, absent medical indications: expensive + unnecessary = enormous waste of resources.

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Are you a physician? I didn't think so.

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People other than physicians have healthcare training, often in excess of physicians in certain areas. This is why physicians make referrals and call other specialists with their questions.

I'm not a physician, and I'm qualified to do many things that a lot of physicians aren't. Physicians send people to me for this reason, and I send people to physicians to do the things I'm not qualified to do.

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Which makes her far more qualified than an individual physician to see the healthcare forest while docs are focused on the trees.

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Odd then that doctors are still having their sons circumcised. But of course, what do they know? They haven't consulted anonymous internet commenter extraordinaire swirrlygrrl. I'd like to hear from men: do you regret that you were circumcised without your consent and/or do you consider your parents abusive mutilators?

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And I'm glad they did it when I was born, I'd hate to have to do it now that I'm older. But I'm glad, it looks so much better, IMO, and it's not.... disgusting....

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Many women who were subjected to Female Genital Mutilation say the same thing. They are "clean" and all that.

Which religious and traditional practice is legal and which isn't?

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The male equivalent female genital mutilation would be castration, so you may as well put that old saw back in the toolbox.

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Mutilated female genitals still work for reproduction.

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Sounds like someone has a slight case of sour grapes, maybe. If you had any idea of how fantastic it is to be non-mutilated you might not be so enamored of your current state, as attractive as you may feel it is.

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But it's just too precious that an anon is trying to call Swirly out for being anon. At least she puts a trackable handle on her posts and has consistent beliefs and opinions on things.

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Physicians aren't scientists. They are practitioners. Some have received specialized training in biostatistics and public health methods. Most have not.

Physicians often perform any number of procedures and make many recommendations that have never been verified as scientifically sound or justified. Many are helpful and derive from years of practice, many are merely traditional ... but ask a particular doctor about the statistical justification for many things they do and you might get a blank (some are better than others at reading the literature, and understanding it). Most medical schools simply do not require their students to take more than a few lectures of biostatistics.

Unless a MD has MPH or DPH with their title, chances are that they lack perspective why they do what they do. That doesn't make them bad doctors, but it makes them just as prone to "because we just do that" thinking as pretty much anybody else. An individual doctor may believe that it is best because of tradition or common practice to circumsize their kid ... even though the American Academy of Pediactrics has gathered the evidence and made its statements and several countries with universal health care like Canada don't pay for cosmetic surgery on newborn infants anymore.

So ... if you are sick or you have an illness that needs treatment you go see a doctor. They are the experts in care delivery. If you want to know if a particular treatment or practice is justified for future health given the risks to the patient, or a worthwhile investment of scarce public health funds, you ask an epidemiologist.

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Why couldn't doctors have their sons circumcised for potentially purely religious reasons?

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Are you a physician? I didn't think so.

"Go fuck yourself."

That's exactly what I tell any doctor who has the chutzpah to repeat that shit at me. I don't care what kind of medical schooling you have. It's my body.

Go fuck yourself you worthless fucking troll.

I hope some doctor tells you he knows better than you and promptly fucks your shit up.

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you're getting feathers everywhere.

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my brother had his son circumcised at birth and he says that it looks like it was botched/not done at all. is this something that a child slowly grows into? is it possible that the job was not done correctly or completely? is this something that would be correctable with further surgery and would the original doctor be held accountable? i know its a weird question but im totally serious.

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People are going around deciding to chop up the genitals of unconsenting children, then they're complaining that it looks funny?

Cripes!

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Not "deciding to chop up the genitals" but adhering their religious and/or cultural mores.
Where's the PC, never mind the love, eeka?
You're demanding tolerance for your beliefs and knocking someone else's?
Poor form.
BTW, FWIW, my genitals were "chopped up" and I'm glad for it. No cheese, my partners like it and I wasn't called an anteater in the locker room.

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I happen to follow a religion that, when taken literally, commands circumcision. I have not ever done so to a child and don't plan to. I also don't stone people.

I live in a very racist and homophobic country. This doesn't mean I condone these things and say "oh, it's just part of our culture."

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Do you have children? If not, how is it your decision?

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You are accusing parents who have chosen to have their sons circumcised of child abuse? You're equating male circumcision with stoning? I'm trying to understand your point of view. If you want to persuade people to see your point of view, you really ought to provide evidence rather than juvenile mud-slinging.

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i never said it looked funny. i said it was botched. the child has had several infections that have caused him a great deal of pain and discomfort. if i was going to say it looked funny i would have said it looked like your nose.

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So, they're surprised that cutting off a healthy body part and having the wound exposed to feces is causing infections?

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What does the child's pediatrician say?

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They say:

"Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision."

They go on to say that any such procedure should be conducted with anesthesia.

"Although the exact frequency is unknown, it is estimated that 1.2 million newborn males are circumcised in the United States annually at a cost of between $150 and $270 million."

What a waste of health care dollars for elective cosmetic surgery on newborns.

More

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using the higher figure that you gave here. A long way from $23,000 !

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That was also before humane reasons required anesthesia, given that we can't just play the "it doesn't hurt them" game anymore or "immature nervous system" meme either.

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Because this may be the mid-career stroke of genius that I've been looking for. I've got several admissions applications here and if your numbers are correct it looks like mohel school would be better than either culinary school or an MBA in terms of paying off all this debt that I have from law school.

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The same thing happened to my son. I have a feeling that it is now the practice to cut off less than was done before. He also had some infections. It requires different type of care than if more foreskin is removed. I wouldn't worry about it. Further surgery is expensive and really hard on the child.

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Further surgery is expensive and really hard on the child.

Any surgery is expensive and really hard on the child - including the original procedure. Being a newborn doesn't make your child magically immune to pain and complications - in fact, it predisposes your child to complications.

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There are a lot of reasons why I and others decide to circumcise boys. But you seem to have an agenda so I won't go into them. We didn't do the second surgery because we are ok with the original procedure.

But I want to let Bostnkid know that his nephew is fine. I've talked to other parents about this. It's common and no need to worry.

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Don't pay for unnecesary cosmetic surgery with money for necessary health care.

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Don't get your boys circumcised then. But I chose to circumcise my son with my health care. If I have another, he will be circumcised too.

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I can choose to get my kid's ears pierced, but I don't expect medical insurance to pay for it. I can also choose to have my kid watch TV or not watch TV, wear cloth diapers or disposable diapers, etc., etc., and I don't expect medical insurance to pay for anything other than MEDICALLY NECESSARY treatments.

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You can expect whatever you want but my insurance pays for it. I don't regret having it done. If I have another boy, my insurance will pay for it again.

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Just so we're clear, you wouldn't be in favor of medical insurance covering birth control or sex-reassignment surgery either, right? Only medically necessary treatments.

What about reconstructive surgery after an accident? If it isn't necessary to keep the person from dying they should pay for it out of pocket?

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Birth control is health care - you can go to the IOM website and read the entire report on your own time for details.

Circumcision is not health care unless indicated by pathology. It is elective cosmetic surgery.

The real equivalent would be if I demanded that my health insurance pay for my daughter to have breast implants. Thats the true equivalent - not reconstructive surgery, which is aimed at function - elective cosmetic surgery.

Sex reassignment surgery is performed on adults who pay with their own money.

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Thanks for answering a question that wasn't directed towards you and for assuming that I am in favor of health insurance covering circumcision (I'm not). I just want to know what eeka considers medically necessary.

There are a lot of health related issues that I think should be covered by insurance that I wouldn't label as strictly necessary.

But by all means, don't let this clarification stop you from rushing to judgement in the future.

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Ok, I'll be the lone guy at the back applauding for this headline.

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1) You and everyone else on Radio Boston are amazing.

2) I thought it was funny too, and was going to respond with a comment involving something about circumcision being "pointless," but decided to start a flame war instead.

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two voices against circumcision, both women. Let's get the token beardo who still cries and curses his parents for loss of "sensation" he has no idea exists and it'll be every comments field on this topic ever.

Keep your rhetoric off my penis, unless we want to take away the mother's right to choose in all scenarios.

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nm

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Everybody wants to keep getting pregnant, and few people become circumcision performers for a living. Boom, 23 large.

Attention med school grads: This is what your business school homies call an "inefficient market." Do 'em in your garage for two grand. Somebody go ahead and undercut the hospital already. Cripes.

Now if you'll excuse me, I got mail today from Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom, a charity I support that pays for abortions. I'm going to mail them another check, because that's clearly the only solution to our health care problem in this country: Stop making new people, because we can't take care of the ones we have.

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Yes, I fully support access to abortion, but if we're talking about saving money and providing the safest and most effective health care, then we should primarily promote various forms of birth control.

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This just appeared in the sidebar of this here thread about penises.

IMAGE(http://www.eeka.net/hiscox.png)

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....a boner ad. er, banner ad, for Fox WOODS casino.

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This takes the fun out of my ongoing tirade for the $50,000 tab for my shattered leg. B&W sent the eye-popping bill, almost entirely insurance paid.

For that I had three days in, a team manipulating the badly broken bones, including a foot at 90 degrees off, stabilizing me overnight for the five hour operation with surgeons and support, taking apart the knee, drilling out the splintered tibia, driving in a rod from knee to ankle, attaching the works with screws top and bottom, and sealing and stitching me up.

So now here's a quick, simple procedure, with its greatest caution attention to bleeding...at roughly half the cost.

How can I maintain my level of outrage? Well, I have other stories.

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That sounds spectacularly awful. I hope you're healing well and quickly.

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Thanks. It was right up there in pain levels with my full shoulder dislocations.

The surprise agonies were things like stairs on a walker and crutches. Before Brigham released me, the therapist had to give me two dreadful sessions there on how to go up and down stairs. Tears and gasping...and I'm a gut-it-out kind of guy.

I took the advice of one young surgeon and exercised the devil out of the upper body to keep blood circulating and the healing advancing. From walker (hated, hated) to crutches to cane took months and progressed about three times faster than the surgeons were used to seeing.

When I asked the chief ortho guy with his traveling resident gang at a bedside visit when I could get back on the bicycle, he and they just roared in laughter. When they stopped, his estimate was 10 months.

A fellow spin class chum at the Y had hip replacements and was walking fine within a week. That's the idea! It's like a car, where the mechanic replaces the whole part instead of fixing and patching.

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What does a mohel charge? Aside from any other concerns, I would bet the rest of my dick that it's cheaper and involves less paperwork.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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...almost always under a thousand bucks, and usually between $400 - $800. plus you not only get the Brit milah (circumcision) for that, you get the whole ceremony.

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I would bet the rest of my dick

Sorry, someone had to say it. ;-)

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I'm circumcised, but it was done for an entirely different reason than anyone else on these boards will likely be able to say. While my dick is average in size, my foreskin was almost 9 inches long! Even when I got an erection, there was almost (you'll please note that I said "almost") a half-foot of foreskin still hanging there. As you might imagine, this presented some problems. For one thing, when I peed it took me a long time to gather up everything and make it so I could aim correctly.

So, anyway, when I had the job done, I had the mohel save it and I gave it a slight paint job and fashioned it into one of those Chinese finger traps.

IMAGE(http://cinemaelectronica.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/chinese-finger-trap-2.jpg)

Now, aren't you glad you encouraged me to answer you?

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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I thought the standard joke was using the foreskin for a wallet that when rubbed turns into a valise...

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n/t

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Suldog, you should send Stephanie B the contact info for your surgeon. I bet she'd love to get half off.

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Circumcision is completely and utterly wrong. It goes against every principle of freedom and choice. A person should have the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want a piece of their body sliced off.

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... a kid would still have their umbilical cord attached until they were old enough to speak and ask to have it removed?

i don't have a dog in this fight, but folks need to remember that we make decisions for our children ALL THE TIME. we have to. they'd just flop around on the floor and starve to death otherwise. would definitely get measles and mumps and rubella. and would probably get eaten by rabid badgers or drink drano.

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Just spitballing here, but I'm guessing some recent college enlightenment and rebellion against such childhood parental transgressions as trips to Applebee's are playing a role here.

Personally, I'm still angry with my parents for stifling my choice and denying me the sensation of scarlet fever and polio.

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An umbilical cord would eventually wither and die with time if it weren't removed, unlike a foreskin.

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I'm guessing you were second alternate on the debate team.

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To be fair, the umbilical cord falls off on its own long before the infant develops the capacity for speech. Also, the other hypothetical decision-making scenarios you mentioned involve rather hazardous situations - where is the life-endangerment in keeping one's foreskin?

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this is the ONLY topic you ever jump in on, and you're the one who's dead wrong. Physicians don't recommend circumcision, but don't recommend against it either. It's ultimately up to the parent to decide -- as it is with vaccinations, haircuts, schooling and just about every other "choice" a child faces before embracing reason.

My former foreskin isn't a feminist issue and isn't some cause for hippies seeking a fight they can win. It gives me a new respect for the '60s hippies who, you know, fought against things like wars and discrimination and not just whatever Bitch magazine is bloviating about this mont.

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There is absolutely no medical reason for removing a foreskin. Circumcision is a relic of religious voodoo. It's guys like you who think it's okay for women in Africa to have their clitoris' circumcised. It's sad to read that so many people are fine with the status quo. Try some basic reasoning, if you can. It makes no sense! Not only is it mutilation, it's an issue of personal freedom. And don't try that weak religion argument. Personal freedom always trumps silly religious preferences.

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It's guys like me who recognize the inherent difference between female genital mutilation (removal of the clitoris and labia) and male circumcision (removal of a small bit of foreskin) that somehow escapes the notice of guys like you.

Basic reasoning suggest that parents need to make basic decisions for their children until they reach the age of reason. This means choices of what foods they eat, what vaccinations they receive, what they wear, what schools they go to, even whether or not they'll ascribe gender roles. Again, doctors don't deem it necessary, but they don't advise against it either.

It's sad that a semester as one of five guys in a women's studies course still results in guys like you making statements like the one above.

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I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that talk of hacking off the end of a cock results in such a pleasant banter and exchange of ideas...

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Can't you guys drop the goddamn condescension, vitriol and derision for one minute on controversial topics? I didn't even know it was this heated. This goes to both sides, but I'll admit this message goes to Eeka and Swirrly more because responses like "Many women who were subjected to Female Genital Mutilation say the same thing. They are "clean" and all that" really doesn't endear me. It is a false equivalent because skin is not the same as what is cut off from women. Though lines like umbilical cords should be left on until the kid can decide is also an ad hominem. That doesn't refute anything either and only drive the discussion into a red-herring.

I read about the controversy randomly, though I never thought that the vitriol was that serious until seeing this thread now. The last thread I stumbled upon was in the off-topic forum a few years back with two very memorable posts. One a guy who had to get a circumcision later in life for some medical reason and the experience was very painful. He wished that he parents did it when he was born so he couldn't remember. The other was a post that he wasn't circumcised and the only effect was... how he had to wash his penis differently... After that there was a string of posts that we really wished we didn't just learned that (so yeah, I'm not going to quote what he said exactly). That tread was much more civil and was quite informative discussion (with some info that we didn't really want to know) between the circumscribed and non-circumscribed guys.

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Which is why most national health care systems do NOT cover elective cosmetic surgery on a non-consenting, non-assenting person.

If people who were mutilated without any need to be for cultural or ritual reasons make the same statements, how is it false equivalence?

Why does the truth bother you?

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One is foreskin that, the other cuts off far more than just he skin. So I'm claiming false equivalence because of the level of how drastic female circumcision that it can make a large push on claims of extremism. Also, I have heard that there is some health benefits - controversial, but enough to keep me open minded. Especially in light from the story I heard of a guy who had to do it later in life with how painful it was. Finally, I see a valid argument that one is a commonly accepted cultural artifact and the other is largely illegal even in the countries that practice it. Those are 3 pretty big things that prevent direct comparison between the two practices.

Now I can see you could counter-argue that circumcision is still largely cosmetic and the few who have to go through it later in life - despite how painful - doesn't justify making it normal procedure paid by insurance. I can also see one can counter-argue that if I was from Africa or somewhere like that, I would see that see both are cultural. Both are reasonable points that any rational response and conclusion would require research and possible debate if circumcision at birth to avoid having the few who have to do it later is worth it. The second possible point requires an answer if a cultural norm is acceptable justification or not.

Now that said... Again, why do you insist in making the most condensing and derisive language possible without outright hostility? Likes like "Why does the truth bother you?" does not help your argument and does not win a desire to see your side rationally or not. Simply stating "Circumcision should be covered by health insurance because the procedure is merely cosmetic" is understandable. Stating that "Circumcision is a procedure that should be done with the consent of the child when he is capable of doing so." Both are rational reasoning that I could agree in the reasoning could still be disagreed depending on the stance of how far can parents decide for a child and how justifiable is culture and health care. Which everyone can move on to debate on those points.

But instead you continue to write in a tone that does not make me be easily open to your arguments, truthfulness notwithstanding. So let me take your language for a second.

Why must you be so condescending?
Do you always hate everyone who don't agree with everything you say?

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... i did mean the umbilical cord thing in a truly facetious manner. hence the "rabid badger" part of the post. not that rabid badgers are any laughing matter. they are highly susceptible to the disease. there was a horrible outbreak in china of people getting rabies from infected badgers. so, frankly, i shouldn't make light of that either.

but my underlying point, that we make decisions for our children all the time, i still stand behind. perhaps i shouldn't have attempted for any levity.

i think this topic spawns horrible rhetoric on all sides, and it's a shame. it's an important topic that deserves debate. but i have my doubts that internet posting sites will be the folks to broker peace in the circumcision wars.

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So your real name is Umbilica L. Cord?

Ignorance and malapropisms don't endear you either, dear.

But a drive-in Red Herring is a great business idea. (It's like Red Lobster... but with herring!)

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I don't see your argument.

The umbilical cord is an ad hominem by using a "straw man" logic or fallacy by extension. Just because one can apply the logic to one thing, it doesn't mean it can be applied to something else and use the absurdity of the application to prove the original claim wrong. Applying the logic of "consent of the child" to umbilical cords with how absurd it would be in making the cord stay with the person can decide by themselves doesn't disprove applying it for circumcision.

So I don't see I was ignorant in its invocation or how I twisted the word. So if you wish, please expand on how my understanding is off.

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Rhonin, "ad hominem" is Latin meaning "against the man." The term "argumentum ad hominem" is used for a rhetorical argument that attempts to disprove a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person making it.

An "ad hominem" argument would be something like 'it makes sense that you would argue that, because you don't have a dick anyway' or 'only someone such as yourself, who can't even write a coherent sentence in English, would make that pitiful argument.'

A "straw man" argument is where you argue against a construction that doesn't match what your interlocutor actually said - you set it up and knock it down. For example, "So you argue that parents should be able to mutilate their innocent children in any way they find convenient. That's advocating child abuse."

A "straw man" argument and an "ad hominem" are two completely different things.

When you use different terms interchangeably, when you adopt multiple malapropisms, and when you garble up your syntax into a comedy of errors, no argument really comes through; the overwhelming impression is of your mistakes rather than your points. When you talk about, for example, guys being circumscribed or not, it's not adding anything to any particular side besides comic relief.

I do encourage you to continue in this vein, however, because I am amused. Perhaps you could become UHub's resident Miss Malaprop. But if you would rather be taken seriously, you should start by taking your language seriously.

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only in Boston

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and so much happier having gone through it. I have had strangers stop me and tell me they think my penis looks younger, more refreshed and dewier. My penis's fine lines have been drastically diminished, thus creating a more radiant and youthful penis.

I have the name of a great mohel, if anyone is interested. I went in just do my oenis would look more wide-awake and refrshed - I certainly didn't want it to look obvious or artificial, like my penis had "something done," - you know, like some of the penises you see in Hollywood these days.

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