Circumcision doctors abused position

News  BBC News (London). Tuesday, 21 August 2001.

A retired surgeon who botched circumcision operations on two baby boys has been found guilty of abusing his professional position. The  External link General Medical Council decided that obstetrician Mr Peter Silverstone had acted inappropriately and irresponsibly.

It has also ruled that the GP who referred the boys on had similarly abused his position.

A GMC  External link disciplinary hearing heard that Mr Silverstone, of Newcastle upon Tyne, failed to properly anaesthetise the six and seven month old children during the operations which were carried out in 1998.

photo of General Medical Council plaque
The GMC ruled against the doctors

Howled in pain

One infant howled in pain throughout the 25 minute procedure, and the other bled for hours afterwards.

Zoe Johnson from the GMC said that Mr Silverstone was not sufficiently expert in the procedure.

While he had carried out religious circumcisions, he was not experienced in carrying them out for medical reasons.

The GMC also found against GP Dr Michael Harbinson, of Rowlands Gill, Tyne and Wear, who referred the babies' mothers to the surgeon.

The hearing heard that Dr Harbinson had pressurised one of the mothers into agreeing to the surgery, presenting the option of circumcision as a fait accompli.

The hearing will now consider whether the doctors are guilty ofserious professional misconduct.

photo of Mr Peter Silverstone
Mr Peter Silverstone carried out the operations

photo of Dr Michael Harbinson
Dr Michael Harbinson referred the boys to Mr Silverstone


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