If oral suction is going to be performed during circumcisions, written consent will need to be acquired from the child’s parents, according to a possible new rule from the Board of Health. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “We have an obligation to keep people alive and safe and the courts have held that up repeatedly. There are certain practices that doctors say are not safe, and we will not permit those practices to the extent that we can stop them. You don’t have a right to put any child’s life in danger, and this [direct oral suction] clearly does.”
The practice of oral suction is known as metzitzah b’peh and the new rule from the Board of Health does not actually ban it. The method has been responsible for 11 cases of neonatal herpes. That number includes two cases of brain damage and two deaths from 2000 to 2011 in New York City, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The new rule would prohibit whoever is performing the circumcision from doing the oral suction without the written consent from the parents. The written consent would have the following statement from the Department of Health on it that says the department “advises … that direct oral suction should not be performed because it exposes an infant to the risk of transmission of herpes simplex virus infection which may result in brain damage or death.”