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Doctor Apologizes For Insensitivity During Teen's Circumcision

The incident highlights the importance of doctors being sensitive and respectful when interacting with patients

A doctor in New Zealand has apologized for his behavior during a circumcision procedure on a teenage boy, after the boy's mother complained to the health watchdog about the doctor's conduct, The New Zealand Herald reported.

The incident occurred in October 2020 when the boy, aged 15 at the time, his father, and his grandmother went to a consultation with the doctor, identified in the report as Dr. B, to discuss circumcision for cultural reasons.

During the consultation, Dr. B asked the boy to remove his underwear and lie on the table, where he demonstrated how the procedure would occur. He also advised the boy to shave his pubic hair and lose weight, as the procedure is more difficult with overweight children.

An appointment for the procedure was made for the following month, and the family was given information sheets and consent forms to sign.

However, during the procedure, the boy's mother felt that the doctor's overall manner was disrespectful and inconsiderate to the sensitivity of the procedure and the family's cultural values. She also complained that the doctor was hurtful in the way he told her son to lose weight.

Dr. B later apologized for his comments and behavior, stating that they were not intended to be insensitive.

The Health and Disability Commissioner criticized Dr. B for not asking for consent before lifting the boy's sarong, describing it as unacceptable. Dr. Caldwell also found that Dr. B breached the boy's right to information and his right to make a choice and give consent.

In response to the complaint, Dr. B has made several changes to his practice, including abandoning the use of an audio clip for postoperative care instructions, adding more information to patient forms, and being more mindful of how he communicates with patients.

The incident highlights the importance of doctors being sensitive and respectful when interacting with patients, especially during intimate procedures.

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