A circumcision is a medical procedure performed on male babies. It is not medically necessary, but is a societal norm. In America, the procedure is routine and has a fairly low complication rate; however, injuries do still occur, thus it is imperative to educate yourself about the risks and benefits of the procedure before making a decision.
Injuries resulting from a botched circumcision could be disfigurement, infection, and potentially loss of a part or the entire penis. Sadly, when a circumcision goes wrong, it often goes terribly wrong. While it can impact the infant, or adult male, physically for the rest of their lives, it can also impact their emotional and mental health.
- My Son was Injured During a Botched Circumcision, Do I Have a Claim?
- My Son Underwent a Wrongful Circumcision, Do I Have a Claim?
- Can I Sue a Mohel for a Botched or Wrongful Circumcision?
- What If One Parent does not Consent to the Circumcision? Can I Sue My Parents for Forcing the Circumcision On Me?
- Do I Need an Attorney for a Botched or Wrongful Circumcision Lawsuit?
Whether or not you have a case for a botched circumcision depends on the circumstances of the injury. These cases are typically tried as medical malpractice or personal injury lawsuits. Most commonly, medical malpractice is associated with doctors making mistakes in their treatment of a patient. Some examples of medical malpractice concerning circumcisions are:
- Using defective tools during the procedure, in which case you might choose to sue the manufacturer as well;
- Failing to perform the procedure with adequate supervision; or
- Lack of care post surgery.
Personal injury claims are based on an injury to a person’s body or mind. So in the case of botched circumcision, if the procedure resulted in injury or disfigurement, it would fall under a personal injury case.
You could file a suit against the doctor, hospital, or practitioner who performed the procedure in addition to the manufacturer of the equipment used in the procedure. Botched circumcisions could result in long-term physical and psychological damage.
Children who have undergone the botched procedure could need continued medical treatment, such as cosmetic surgery and therapy, because of their injury. Both future and present medical costs would be considered when calculating the damages.
A wrongful circumcision occurs when the parents of the child do not wish to have them circumcised, but the hospital staff or the doctor proceed without parental consent. There must be valid and informed consent before the procedure can take place. And, as the procedure is most commonly performed on newborns, it is up to the parents to give that consent.
Valid and informed consent means the person making the decision:
- Has the right to do so;
- Was informed of both the benefits and the risks of the procedure; and
- Was not coerced into make a decision.
If the procedure was not medically necessary, and was therefore an elective procedure that was done wrongfully, it may be considered legal battery and medical malpractice. An elective procedure performed without valid and informed consent is an illegal procedure. Each jurisdiction’s laws, as well as the specific circumstances of the case, will influence the outcome of the case.
If your child is still a minor (under the age of eighteen), there is not yet a statute of limitations, which means you may sue for a botched procedure at any time. However, once they reach the age of majority, there is a statute of limitations placed on medical malpractice, and it varies from state to state.
A Mohel, or a person who performs the Jewish rite of circumcision, is not medical professional and cannot be sued for medical malpractice. There is no law requiring that Mohels be medical professionals in order to perform circumcisions.
Further, given the infringement on religious freedoms implications, judges are wary of hearing personal injury cases against Mohels. Judges consider personal injury claims against Mohels to be a form of clergy malpractice, which is very uncommon in the United States.
Although uncommon, a lawsuit against a Mohel would not necessarily fail. For a successful clergy malpractice suit, it must be established that clergy have a duty and a responsibility to the people they serve. This means it must be proved that the clergy has violated that duty.
What If One Parent does not Consent to the Circumcision? Can I Sue My Parents for Forcing the Circumcision On Me?
Medical professionals must obtain the consent of both parents before carrying out the procedure. If they do not, it counts as medical malpractice. It is possible for the opposing parent to get a court injunction to stop the doctor from performing the operation.
For all intents and purposes, the law treats a parents’ decisions as the child’s decision, at least until the child is old enough to speak for themselves. Therefore, it is very difficult for a person to sue their parents for decisions made for them while they were incapable of making the decision themselves.
If your child was circumcised wrongfully, or the circumcision was botched, it is essential to consult a knowledgeable and skilled personal injury attorney. You should do this immediately, and do not agree to any settlement before consulting with an attorney.
Personal injury and medical malpractice cases are very serious and complex issues, and you will benefit from experienced representation.