Easing the Pain of Circumcision

"Easing the Pain of Circumcision.  It hurts alot longer when a
newborn boy's foreskin is cut off than previously thought, and
the traditional placing of a whiskey coated finger in the baby's
mouth is hardly adequate to relieve the pain, according to pediatric
researchers at Rochester General Hospital in New York.  The
researchers concluded from a controlled study of 44 circumcised
newborns that all should get a regional anesthetic at the time of
the procedure and most would benefit from pain medication every
six hours for a day after the surgery.  But while 86 percent of
all infants are circumcised and nearly all the procedures are done
in hospitals, most recieve little or nothing to ease the discomfort
during surgery and fewer still recieve painkillers in the hours or
days afterward.  The researchers, headed by Dr.  Cynthia R. howard,
rated indicators of discomfort in 23 babies given liquid Tylenol
during and after circumcision and in 21 babies who recieved no pain
medication.  Judging from the babies crying, heart rates, breathing
patterns, facial expressions, "consolability, " and sucking behavior,
the researchers concluded that the immediate pain of circumcision
was too severe to be quelled by Tylenol, but that the medication
did relieve the lingering pain starting about six hours after
surgery.  Byline: Jane E. Brody.  Write or FAX to the NY Times and
let them know your feelings:  New York Times Letters to the Editor,
229 W 43rd St., New York, NY  10036, FAX 212-556-3690.

NY Times of 5/29/94, "Week in review Section," printed the following:

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