Keeping silent. Bedouin women (Illustration)
Photo: Shai Rosenzweig

Doctors shocked: 16-year old Bedouin girl circumcised

Teenager rushed to hospital with life-threatening genital hemorrhaging after undergoing dated practice of female circumcision. 'We haven't seen a case like this in over a decade,' says obstetrics chief

An unconscious 16-year-old girl was rushed to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba on Sunday with a life-threatening genital hemorrhage. The cause, doctors were stunned to discover, was circumcision.


Female circumcision, also called female genital mutilation, a primitive ritual often conducted in substandard hygienic conditions has all but disappeared from the modern world and is banned in most Western countries. The practice is intended to ensure girls will not become sexually promiscuous as they enter their teenage years.  


The girl was rushed into surgery where she was found to be suffering from severe sharp-force trauma. Her condition has since been stabilized.


A quick inquiry by the emergency room attending, Dr. Alex Rabinowitz, determined that the girl had been forced to undergo the horrifying procedure by her family, who reside in a Bedouin community in the Negev.


"We haven't seen a case like this is over 10 years. We thought the practice had died out," Prof. Arnon Witznitzer, director of Soroka's Obstetrics and Gynecology Ward, told Yedioth Ahronoth.


"Clearly, despite our assumption that this no longer occurs in Israel, some are still practicing it and they are doing their best to keep it under wraps," added Soroka's public relations officer.


The girl's father, who came to the hospital several hours after his daughter was admitted, confirmed that she had, in fact, been circumcised. He claimed however that he had no idea the procedure could prove hazardous to her health.


Doctors close to the case said he appeared to be genuinely distraught and remorseful.


פרסום ראשון: 06.04.08, 09:54
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