Doctors Opposing Circumcision issued this press release on March 18 regarding a libel suit Paul Fleiss and Frederick Hodges are bringing against notorious pro-circumcision doctor Thomas Wiswell. David Llewellyn is handling the case. Many of us in the intactivist movement have crossed swords with Wiswell, as I have a couple times in the past, in a 2003 radio debate and when we both presented at the 1999 Denver meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research.
This case seems to be winnable and I wish Paul and Frederick (and David) the very best of luck in this important challenge to Wiswell’s longterm campaign of blatant lies and baseless personal attacks.
Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.)
For Immediate Release, 3/18/04
Long Island Doctor Sued for Amazon.com Libel
Central Islip, New York – Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH, and Frederick M. Hodges, D. Phil., (Oxon), authors of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision: Untold Facts… filed suit against Thomas E. Wiswell, MD, for allegedly libeling them in a review of their book at www.Amazon.com which stated, “Their ‘facts’ are untold because they are lies and diatribe,” and “What these two individuals put forth is as far from the truth as any author can get.”
According to the complaint, “Thomas E. Wiswell, MD, is a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York, where he specializes in neonatology at Stony Brook University Hospital. He is one of the foremost proponents of the medical theories that the presence of a foreskin dramatically increases a male infant’s chances of contracting a urinary tract infection (UTI) and that its removal in infancy dramatically decreases the chances of a male’s contracting penile cancer later in life. He is an unrelenting proponent of universal neonatal male circumcision, having appeared on national television performing the procedure, despite the fact that he chose to leave his own son intact.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) criticized Wiswell’s studies, which were carried out in the 1980s, for methodological flaws, including the failure to allow for the effect of breastfeeding in preventing UTI. He became embittered when the AAP rejected his position in their 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement and co-authored a dissenting article.
John Juliano and David J. Llewellyn represent the plaintiffs.