COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS & SURGEONS
November 9, 1999
Dear Professor MacDonald:
Thank you for your interesting letter of October 25, 1999. Due to the small size of our office and our limited resources, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Prince Edward Island has not yet begun to establish policies in any of the controversial areas of today's medical practice. We rely on the CMA Code of Ethics to provide guidelines for individual physician behaviour and interpret any complaints in that light.
Thank you again for your letter.
January 18, 2000
Dear Dr. Bhimji:
[Body of letter is identical to letter of November 9, 2000 to Prof. Ron MacDonald].
August 24, 2001
Dr. Cyril A. Moyse, Registrar
Dear Dr. Moyse:
Re: Infant male circumcision
The National Post reported earlier this year that about 40 percent of male infants in Prince Edward Island are being circumcised, compared with 18 percent in New Brunswick, 1.6 percent in Nova Scotia, and less than one-half of one percent in Newfoundland.
The foreskin is a normal part of the male reproductive system. Infants are persons in their own right, and they are incapable of giving informed consent.
The College is responsible for monitoring and enforcing standards of professional ethics among physicians. In the opinion of the College, is it ethical for physicians to remove a normal part of the reproductive system from persons who cannot give informed consent?
I look forward to your response.
August 30, 2001
Dear Mr. H arrison
Thank you for your letter of August 24, 2001. I am unable to respond to your question. My College is small and it is unable to develop specific policies with regard to specific questions such as this. I regret I have not been able to assist you.
September 18, 2001
Dear Dr. Moyse,
Thank you for your letter of August 30, 2001, in which you state that the College cannot respond to my question concerning the ethics of infant male circumcision because the College has not developed a policy on the issue.
I find this response surprising because my question pertained to basic principles of ethics, not to any specific procedure. To discharge its duties, the College must be able to interpret and apply basic principles of medical ethics. Subsection 3(d) of the Medical Act R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. M-5 imposes a duty on the College "to establish, maintain and ensure adherence to standards of professional ethics among its members."
Accordingly, I am resubmitting the following question for a response:
In the opinion of the College, is it ethical for physicians to remove a normal part of the reproductive system from persons who cannot give informed consent?
Thank you for taking the time to consider this issue. I look forward to your reply.
August 28, 2002
Dear Mr H arrison
Thank you for your interesting letter and information of August 7, 2002. At the present time, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of PEI has not entered into the area of practice guidelines. Instead, when assessing practice standards, the standards of the reasonable Canadian physician are used.
I will, however, keep this information on file for future reference.