Friday, September 11, 2015

New York City Repeals Circumcision Informed Consent Rule

As reported by the New York Times, on Wednesday the New York City Board of Health by a vote of 9-1-1 repealed its largely unenforced regulations that required parental consent forms be signed in cases of ritual circumcision using the direct oral suction technique (metzitzah b'peh). The original regulations were adopted in 2012 in order to prevent passage of the herpes simplex virus to infants. (See prior posting.)  In its Notice of Adoption the Board said in part:
In February, 2015, the Mayor announced a new strategy to address this problem. As part of this approach, the Department will work cooperatively with leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community to educate parents about the risks of DOS. These educational efforts will include working with hospitals throughout the City to distribute educational materials about the risks of DOS to the parents of all newborn infant boys, as well as making this information available at other health care settings, such as obstetric and pediatric practices. These materials, which include a Department telephone number for parents who may have questions, have been translated into Yiddish and are being distributed at hospitals and medical offices that service communities where DOS is practiced. The Department’s educational initiative is more likely to succeed if the Department can restore a strong relationship with these communities.
City officials expect Orthodox Jewish leaders to cooperate in banning mohels  who are found to have infected an infant, though formal arrangements with them are not yet complete. (See prior related posting.) [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]