Dr. Leon Levitt of the Perth Circumcision Clinic has been placed on the “Known Genital Mutilators” directory at neonatalcutting.org.
From his website perthcircumcisionclinic.com:
The Perth Circumcision Clinic provides a professional, quality medical service to families who wish their sons to be circumcised. The Clinic was set up by Dr Leon Levitt, an experienced Western Australian General Practitioner Obstetrician with over 25 years experience in circumcisions in neonates (boys under the age of 6 weeks). He has performed over 6000 circumcisions in the clinic setting. The Clinic has been operating within Dr Levitt’s medical practice throughout this time, and in 2011 began operations as a separate entity. This August the Clinic will relocate to a new medical practice in Wembley called Baby Steps Health Centre.
Highest medical & nursing standards
At the Perth Circumcision Clinic you and your baby will be cared for with compassion, understanding and with the highest medical and nursing standards. Parents come to the decision to have their son circumcised with varying degrees of apprehension and concern, and sometimes with criticism from ignorant friends and associates. Our Doctors and our staff will assist you to gain an understanding of the procedure and the aftercare, in a manner that will reassure you and give you comfort and confidence.”
The doctor may say he practices “with the highest medical and nursing standards,” but it’s just not so. Medical professionals have a motto to “Do No Harm” and performing risky and medically unnecessary surgery on an unconsenting infant is psychologically and physically harmful, to say nothing of permanent amputation of a functioning part of the penis. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently found that surgery such as circumcision on infants is harmful to a still developing nervous system, and discourages it. The act of circumcision is arguably illegal in most developed countries.
Under “When to make a booking” we see:
The procedure can be performed at any time in the first 6 weeks of life. It is preferred that we wait until at least day 5, after the child has stopped losing weight and is in a healthy growth mode. While the child usually remains distressed for much less time in the earlier weeks of this neonatal period, it retains no memory at all in the first 6 week period and recovers quickly. The younger child usually settles within 1 minute, but the older child can take up to 15 minutes to fall asleep again.
Babies over the age of 6 weeks can still be circumcised in this manner in certain circumstances. If your child will be older than 6 weeks, then discuss this with the Clinic staff.
Know why they prefer healthier babies to circumcise? So the baby has more of a chance to survive the blood loss, the trauma to his nervous system, and any other complications that may occur. Or you could leave the baby intact, like his sister.
The doctor is wrong about the baby having no memory of the event; he has no idea what effect this unneeded assault on a newborn has on the baby’s mental and physical development as no studies have been done in these areas.
Further on we see “Facts for Parents:”
What is Circumcision?
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the bulk of the foreskin (or prepuce), the sleeve of skin that falls forward from the shaft of the penis covering the tip of the penis. This operation exposes the head (or glans) of the penis. It may be done in adults or older children under general anesthesia or in neonates under local or no anesthesia depending upon the technique and practice.
History of Circumcision
There is at least 5000 years of human experience with circumcision. It penetrated most cultures and currently approximately 30% of males around the world are now circumcised.
It is probably the most commonly performed operation in the world.
Circumcisions became less commonly performed in Australia after some medical groups determined it to be a medically unnecessary procedure in the late 1970’s/ early 1980’s.
Between 5 and 18% of male infants in Australia are currently being circumcised, depending upon which state you are living in, dropping from approximately 60% of Australian boys in the 1960’s.
The current trend varies dependant upon the ethnic/ cultural demographics and upon the attitude and influence of doctors in each state whether for or against.
Most circumcisions are performed in the neonatal period (the first six weeks of life). A further 5% of the male population who are not circumcised as an infant, will have a circumcision later in life.
So, circumcision is removal of the “sleeve of skin that falls forward from the shaft of the penis covering the tip of the penis.” Seems like the foreskin has a reason for being there; “covering” and protecting “the tip of the penis.” Male dogs have a similar sleeve of skin that protects his penis, yet we don’t think it unnecessary and proceed to cut it off. That would be inhumane!
Good to see Australia’s circumcision rate lower than the U.S., it shows that civilization does just fine with lots of intact penises hanging around – just ask their owners.
Then we see “An overview of the arguments for and against male infant circumcision:”
Advantages – Reasons For Circumcision
Prevention of medical conditions:
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Recent large studies have shown a 30 – 60% reduction in most severe STD’s including HIV, Syphilis, Herpes and Human Papilloma Virus
Cancer of the Penis
20 times less likely if circumcised
Urinary Tract Infections
10 times less common in circumcised boys
Treatment of medical conditions
Scarring closure of the tip of the foreskin (Phimosis) that causes delay in the urine flow and increases the risk of infection and cancer
Recurrent infection of the foreskin (Balanitis)
To look like other men in the family
To avoid the distress in recovery observed in older children and adults, when circumcision is required at that later age.
Disadvantages – Reasons Against Circumcision
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians suggests that the frequency of these conditions prevented by circumcision and the level of protection circumcision offered does not warrant advising universal infant circumcision. They considered that the medical reasons offered small advantages only and not sufficient to outweigh the following possible disadvantages:
During the procedure and in the recovery stages
Risk of Complications
Bleeding, Wound Infection, Scarring, Complications of general and local anesthesia
Risk of Misadventure
Poor surgical skill has led to rare cases of traumatic injury to the penis
There is no convincing evidence of benefit or detriment to the sexual experience from having a foreskin or from having it removed.
If only 5% (see above) of intact baby boys need a circumcision later in life and there are no medical reasons to circumcise, then the legal and ethical thing to do is allow the boy to make the choice himself at the proper age.
Further on we see “How to decide? Should I circumcise my son?”
One side of the debate will tell you that this procedure is a vital public health measure reducing sexually transmitted diseases significantly, and that not circumcising your son would be irresponsible. They note that the complications described above in the hands of experienced surgeons are extremely rare. They advise that the benefits far outweigh these very rare risks.
The other side declares circumcision ethically wrong and medically unnecessary, and that it should be actively discouraged.
So what does a parent do?
Overall, there is not yet a broad agreement that the advantages of circumcision are powerful enough to determine that all male children must be circumcised. In part, this appears to be due to some activists holding firm to their emotive views for or against circumcision, despite the trials and scientific evidence. Unfortunately, the tone of the debate is often framed in emotive language rather than rational assessment and each side seems to selectively choose reports that rationalise their own emotive stance.
However, the studies available in recent years are extremely persuasive; there ARE significant advantages to the child and to the child’s future partner if he is circumcised. And secondly, the complications are extremely rare.
Therefore, a parent should seriously consider the procedure for their son.
Some fathers prefer that their son looks like them, whether circumcised or not. As a child’s sense of belonging and identity is developed about the age of 4 years, it is reasonable to take the view that for a child to be different to the father or brothers at this stage would be unfair or unwise. However, this is clearly only an important issue to some parents.
Ultimately the parents must decide if their reasons for circumcision (cultural, personal, or medical) are sufficient to overcome inflicting a brief period of pain and small risk of complications. If these reasons are important to the parent, then it is only 60 seconds of pain. And if these reasons are not important to the parent, then one should not inflict even this amount of pain or risk.
Therefore, I have the view that Circumcision is in fact a reasonable choice, and at the same time not to circumcise is quite reasonable also. Neither choice should be considered wrong.
In particular, a parent should not be subjected to unfair emotional criticism for wishing their son to have such a safe simple quick and tiny cosmetic procedure.
If a parent chooses to circumcise their son, then they should expect a professional non-judgmental approach from their health advisors and they should expect to have access to skilled experienced surgical options.
“Should I circumcise my son?” – it’s not your decision to make, parents – it’s not your body – and it’s not your right to perform, doctor.
It’s awful nice that the doctor says it’s “also quite reasonable not to circumcise,” but I won’t let him get away with saying it’s reasonable for someone other than the patient to consent to permanent genital mutilation.
Dr. Levitt’s website lists “Complications” but the info isn’t available to the public, you must be a patient first with a password – what’s he hiding?
Under “Anaesthetic Choices” we read:
When a circumcision is performed with the technique used in the Perth Circumcision Clinic, the entire procedure takes less than 60 seconds. It is quick, simple and safe and the child settles back down after this period of distress after a further 1 to 15 minutes. The child of 5 days of age settles after a minute. He has very rudimentary intellectual capacity and awareness and holds distress for a very brief period. Children up to 6 weeks of age have not been demonstrated to have any memory, but get progressively more aware of their environment after that age. Earliest recorded memory relates to awareness of the mother as distinct from others at 6 – 8 weeks of age.
In view of the brief time of distress and the lack of retained distress, it is a reasonable option not to use the currently available anaesthetics with their inadequacies and complications.
Amongst the many briefly painful experiences encountered by a child before, during and after birth, Circumcision is just one of them. Usual practise at the Perth Circumcision Clinic is not to use anaesthetics, local or general.
So, the “child of 5 days of age settles after a minute. He has very rudimentary intellectual capacity and awareness and holds distress for a very brief period.” The AAP says not to circumcise infants for this very reason: “Research suggests that repeated exposure to pain early in life can create changes in brain development and the body’s stress response systems that can last into childhood.”
Dr. Levitt’s practice information follows:
Phone: 08 9387 2844
Fax: 08 9387 6704
The Perth Circumcision Clinic is now housed in the Baby Steps Health Centre
21/127 Herdsman Parade, Wembley, WA, 6014
— gary costanza (@jerrytheother) May 27, 2016