To circ or not to circ,

To "circ" or not to "circ" – Oh, what a question!

The arguements surrounding the debate over the medical indications for 
newborn circumcision remine us of the indecision of Shakespeare's tragic 
Hamlet. We hope you agree that the following takeoff on the Prince of 
Denmarks's famous soliloquy from Act III cuts to the quick of the 

To circ or not to circ, that is this the question:
Whether 'tis medically better to suffer
The smegma and adhesions of  intact foreskin,
Or to take a blade against potential troubles,
And by slicing, end them.
To cut, to circ --
No more, and by a circ to say we end
The cancer and the UTIs
That prepuce is heir to; 'tis a procedure
Routinely to be perform'd
To cut, to circ --
To circ, perchance to better nature – ay, there's the rub
For in that act of cutting what reimbursement may come,
When we have slic'd off the end of the foil,
Must give us pause; there's the suspect
That this is surgery not necessary:
For who would bear the pain and risk of the knife,
Th' snipper's error, the clamp's flesh-crushing pressure,
Squirms with Velcro, cries with 11 blade the reply,
But that the dread of something different from dad,
Or the gym class shower from whose scorn
No teen recovers, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather whittle as we always have
Than leave well enough alone?
Thus tradition does make "circers" of us all.

Mike Dubi MD
Brian Wood MD
Gaithersburg, MD

[Contemporary Pediatrics, Jan. 1996, vol 13 no.1 p. 129]

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