Monday, February 15, 2016

Safety Precautions - What you need to know...

...and what you need to insist your mohel does!

Circumcision is a relatively easy procedure, with minimal risk to a baby when done under the following conditions:
1. Baby is 100% healthy.
2. Operator is skilled at his work
3. Sterile conditions are maintained
4. The proper amount of foreskin is removed.
5. Bandaging is done well - minimizing loss of blood

Any mohel who is not careful about #1 is not fit to be a mohel.

Any mohel with a good reputation plus experience is surely good for #2.

Unfortunately, the last three are never a guarantee, unless the mohel takes certain precautions and has a good track record.

With regard to sterility
Mohel should wear gloves when operating. Period. End of story. I wear gloves, of course. But you will be surprised how often this is not a given, and something you cannot take for granted.

Maintaining Sterility brings honor to this mitzvah. Living in the Middle Ages does not.

The highest standards of sterilizing instruments is in a sterilizing oven or autoclave machine, and not through cold sterilization. And trying to mimic an operating room as best as possible.

Surgical Instruments should be laid out on a sterile drape - not on a laundered diaper cloth (amongst other suggestions)

Metzitzah - will be the subject of the next blog post. Though here is a link to the Metzitzah page

Proper amount of foreskin removed
There is no room for mohel-arrogance when it comes to your baby's penis

Mohel should use a surgical pen to mark where the edge of the foreskin is (and he should follow his estimation) [Here's a horrible story that was completely avoidable which a nurse told me about a bris she attended]

Taking off too much skin is harmful for the baby in the long-term

Leaving baby bleeding
There is never any excuse for this. I would rather take as much time as necessary to make sure baby is fine than have a parent call me saying "the diaper was all bloody!" I find myself sometimes saying to parents, after my immediate post-bris check-up, "Your baby is fine - everything is great! I apologize only for the amount of time it took for him to clot."

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