Even if the American Academy of Pediatrics didn’t quantify benefits and harms in its statement, we still wish news stories about the statement would.
Still, this was a reasonable report on the AAP policy statement, emphasizing the role of parents’ shared decision-making on this issue up high in the second sentence.
Parents still have to make decisions and news stories could help them by providing the best evidence on how large is the scope of potential benefit and how large is the scope of potential harm – actual numbers.
Cost estimates from CDC are given.
Benefits were not quantified but listed within the article. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) didn’t quantify the benefits in its policy statement either. But consumers need to understand how “significant” are the reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection or the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and transmission of other STDs. Even a simple infographic would have helped.
The story included the concerns of some that circumcision “amounts to genital mutilation” or “causes loss of sexual satisfaction.”
But it didn’t include the AAP’s policy statement excerpt that:
“Complications are infrequent; most are minor, and severe complications are rare.”
The story didn’t really describe the process by which the recommendation was developed.
The story did not commit disease mongering.
The story included an almost throwaway quote from the author of another recent study on states eliminating Medicaid coverage for circumcision. And a quote from a psychologist heading an anti-circumcision group. It also briefly touched on AMA and American Academy of Family Physicians’ policies.
The alternative is no circumcision, which is clear from the story.
The story stated that roughly a million procedures are doneeach year in the US but it also described recent declines in US circumcision rates.
The story was very specific in stating that most circumcisions are performed in hospitals by obstetricians or pediatricians.
The story makes it clear that the AAP has previously issued recommendations on the topic of circumcision and points out that this latest recommendation is a bit contrary to that previously issued.
It’s clear that the story did not rely solely or largely on a news release.