As a parent, many feel it’s important to speak out and advocate for your children — especially when it comes to their health.

On Jan. 5, Kaylee Alvarado, a mother of two, says her 3-year-old boy had some stomach pains, so she took him to a local walk-in clinic.

But Kaylee says after a visit to the clinic and a few presses on his stomach, they recommended she visit the ER instead.

“When we went in there they said they wanted to do a multitude of tests like an X-ray, and an ultrasound of his stomach and also they wanted to take a urine sample and a blood sample. I was hesitant immediately about them taking a urine sample just because he’s three and I don’t know usually how that would work for a kid his age,” said Kaylee.

Kaylee says her son needed to have a catheterization procedure for the urine test.

With her two kids, she had to get cathed each time — and she found the experience extremely painful. She wanted to avoid that pain for her son at all costs.

“And it ended up coming back that he had tested positive for RSV which is pretty common in kids his age and I hadn’t known before but can like stomach issues and stuff,” Kaylee added.

Even though this is common in young kids, the nurses still came back wanting to do the urine test. Kaylee was still hesitant, so she asked for the doctor.

“She explained the procedure to me and at no point did she tell me that for him to be cathed, that they would have to retract his foreskin — which if they have told me that I would’ve not consented to it,” Kaylee said.

She says the doctor told her the procedure for the urine test would help make sure there are no other issues.
Shortly afterward, she says four medical professionals came into the room, the doctor left and the atmosphere was full of anxiety all around.

“They told me to basically hold his hands and be up near his face, so I was holding his hands, looking at his face and trying to keep him calm, because I figured — well they told me also — the doctor told me that it would not be painful, that it would just be uncomfortable for him. So I was expecting him to cry because he was uncomfortable but I didn’t expect him to scream the way that he did which is what immediately set off red flags in my head, so I’m holding his hands and looking at him and he just starts screaming like I’ve never heard him scream before,” she said.

The screams from her child caused her to look, despite being told not to.

“Immediately I see a ton of blood, and I had noticed that they pulled his foreskin all the way down and my immediate reaction was like ‘What are you doing? You’re not supposed to retract the foreskin?’ and the nurse very rudely, said ‘Yes you are, you should be doing this at every diaper change,'” said Kaylee.

As her son hysterically screamed, they continued the procedure, left the room when done and she comforted her son.

“There was blood all over the sheets that he was on and I wiped some away with baby wipes,” she said.

She says her husband is Hispanic and they decided long ago that circumcision would never be a consideration due to his cultural beliefs.

“How a cath would work for somebody his age and for boys, in general, would be like a very thin plastic tube goes up the urethra and into their bladder and then that’s how they do it, but at no point did she tell me to do this on an uncircumcised boy we would have to retract his foreskin,” Kaylee said.

We spoke with Georganne Chapin, Intact America‘s executive director, who says that is not the case.

The foreskin doesn’t have to be removed for proper catheterization, according to their research.

“They do say unequivocally that a foreskin should not be forcibly retracted,” said Chapin.

Chapin added there is an alleged false narrative that removing the foreskin can alleviate health problems.

“There is absolutely no evidence that our population is healthier as a result, in fact, we know that the opposite is true. We rank way down there in the world and overall health and there’s no evidence within the U.S. or across nationally that suggests that circumcision makes people healthier,” said Chapin.

The United States is the highest-rated percentage of circumcisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80.5 percent of the U.S. male population is circumcised — whereas countries like South Africa, China and Ukraine have less than 45 percent of male circumcisions.

Intact America conducted a worldwide survey asking parents of intact boys under the age of 6 if their child had their foreskin forcibly removed.

“That 43 percent of intact boys had their foreskin forcibly retracted, 49 percent of those were carried out by doctors, 9 percent by nurses, the rest by others including 25 percent of parents said that either they or their spouse had forced their son’s foreskin back in accordance with a doctors instruction,” said Chapin.

World population review says in some cases, circumcisions may be done as a treatment option for chronic urinary tract infections and other medical conditions.

But in Kaylee’s situation, this treatment option was not needed. And she says her son is different now.

“He was in a lot of pain the days following that. He would scream and cry at every time he needed to use the bathroom, diaper changes made him very anxious; he would have to take the wipes and wipe himself, to just feel more comfortable. He felt like he is afraid of going to the doctors and he’s somebody who– he’s in like occupational, speech and physical therapy and so we call them doctors so he was even very anxious and afraid to go there, which is a place he loved and enjoyed,” Kaylee said.

Though he’s doing better health-wise, she’s concerned he will be scarred from doctors for a while.

Kaylee and her husband are considering getting her son a therapist.

With all the concerns and the severity of the incident, KX reached out to Sanford Health who replied with a written statement from Vice President of Operations Fred Fridley who said the following:

While we cannot comment on this patient’s case, Sanford Health always puts patient care at the forefront of the work we do and remains dedicated to meeting each patient’s specific health care needs

Fred Fridley

The doctor and one of the nurses did apologize to Kaylee, she says.

She wants to encourage all medical professionals to become more educated on proper protocols related to circumcisions.