letter sent
response rec'd
to / from

Jennifer Alexander

Jennifer Alexander

Jennifer Alexander

Dr Jacqueline Small
RACPcommunication with Mr Glass

Dr Jacqueline Small
My reply to Jacqueline Small

RACP. The Royal Australian College of Physicians.

The RACP is one of the medical self regulatory bodies in Australia and the one viewed as controlling the act of infant circumcision. Self regulatory bodies such as the RACP are responsible for deciding, in the most part, how medical services are dispensed and conducted within Australia.

The various levels of government quite rightly defer to these bodies of experts to offer technical and scientific analysis of medical issues which laypersons could not be expected to make.

Naturally, the RACP and other regulators do this within the confines of the legal system. For example, female genital mutilation is illegal by statute in all Australian states and territories, therefore the RACP no longer is responsible for deciding whether or not the procedure takes place (or under what conditions).

Male genital mutilation, being not explicitly banned, is still subject to sanctification by primarily the RACP. Their latest doctrine on the subject can be read HERE.

I wrote to the College's CEO, Ms Jennifer Alexander, to ask her views about the treatment my son and I received from a registered doctor in Australia. Her response can be found below. She suggested that I read the College's paper on the subject, the paper where routine circumcision is found to have no medical benefit and the one that continually uses the phrase "parents" with regard to informed consent, not "parent(s)". Her letter plumbs the depths of insensitivity given my obviously strong feelings on the subject.

The RACP's involvement with infant male circumcision poses many questions:

  1. Is it proper that the RACP can conclude, based on best medical and scientific analysis, that routine infant circumcision  is unjustified, then state that the decision should to be left to parents? Should  unelected bodies such as the RACP be extended the latitude to make such value based, moral and ethical decisions, or should such decisions be made exclusively by elected parliaments?

  1. The conduct of doctors is Australia is largely self regulated, so long as they do not break any laws. Using assessments of 'Best Practice', conduct is deemed either acceptable or unacceptable. The medical regulators are of the view that my son being circumcised without medical reason, without my consent, is "Best Practice". Do you agree?

  1. Is it reasonable that the group of people who stand to financially benefit from performing unnecessary circumcisions (doctors) also be the ones who determine whether the practice should continue? Of course, I understand that SOMEONE has to pay for their new Mercedes, even if that someone was my six week old son.

Recently, another person determined to elicit change began a communication with the RACP via their website. He began HIS journey with a feedback email directly to the RACP.

If anyone held out ANY POSSIBLE hope that, with prodding, the RACP would come to it's moral and ethical senses, the exchange between Mr Glass, Dr Jacqueline Small and myself (see link below) will make it clear that the Doctors still see themselves as a law unto themselves and well beyond the moral and ethical reach of the community at large.

As a moral and ethical primer, the point of intersection between a doctor and a child or infant could be expressed as:

authority to proceed = medical imperative + consent

In other words, if a child arrives at a hospital with a ruptured appendix, society should (rightly) afford doctors the latitude to act in their best professional judgment and render treatment without being constrained by a rigid consent regime.

Once medical imperative is diluted the concept of consent must expand to fill that space.

To the RACP, however, this notion may as well be written in Swahili.