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October 18, 1965

The Rape of the Phallus —A Sequel

JAMA. 1965;194(3):310. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090160087036

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To the Editor:—  Admittedly thousands of circumcisions are unnecessarily done. However, if one waits until it can be a proven necessity, one has waited until it has become a rather formidable procedure requiring general anesthesia and hospitalization. If it is done at birth, the cost in every manner is trivial.Dr. Morgan compares the death rate of cancer of the penis with that of appendicitis. This is unscientific. If appendectomy could be as inexpensively and safely performed on the newborn as is the excision of the prepuce, it might well be advocated as a routine procedure.W. K. C. M.: Dr. Lingenfelter maintains that if circumcision is done at birth the cost is trivial. Is this fact or fallacy? The cost was not so trivial—in fact it came to several hundred thousand dollars —in a recent malpractice suit in Pennsylvania in which overly enthusiastic use of the electrocautery completely charred

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