Turkish Circumcision Removes Most of Child’s Penis, Family Gets Record Settlement

Circumcision is a hotly debated topic in most countries, particularly first-world ones. Female circumcision is all but unheard of in North America, but male circumcision continues to be around 50 percent for baby boys. In predominantly Muslim countries, however, the rate is much higher, and the cost is much greater, and the social ramifications of having an intact penis is not acceptable.

The safety and efficacy of circumcision remains something that most people have strong feelings about. Some cultures and customs feel it is a religious rite of passage, while others consider it mainly an aesthetic issue. Whatever the reason for having it done, if botched, it can have serious social, physical, and psychological ramifications for the male.

In Turkey, the birth of a male child traditionally calls for a circumcision and celebration afterward, but they aren’t cheap. Some families are left with little option but to go to a “barber” instead of a physician to have the foreskin removed, and the results can be catastrophic.

According to the Guardian, A Turkish court has approved a record compensation payment for the family of a boy who had a large portion of his penis removed and burned off in a botched circumcision operation, the media reported.

The boy, who is now six, underwent the operation when he was one-year-old in a mass circumcision ceremony for boys from disadvantaged families in the south-eastern city of Batman, which is a common occurrence among the impoverished.

The upper portion of the penis was mistakenly cut and burned off during the operation, and the boy was still receiving care for his wounds five years later. It is unknown if his penis will be functional or if he will be able to reproduce. The family of seven claimed that the operation was carried out only by a health technician because no qualified doctor was present during the circumcision. They were sent home with burn cream and told to let it rest and heal, but it never did.

On Tuesday, a Batman court ordered the health ministry to pay the boy’s family a record 600,000 Turkish liras ($255,000) in damages, but the family is not satisfied with that amount, saying that they believe the child will need to be sent abroad for repair of the damage. They seek $2 million.

It’s possible that the instrument used to remove the foreskin was not sterile, or that the barber was inexperienced, or both. Botched circumcisions have sometimes resulted in complete removal of the penis and even death from infection or bleeding.