Broward News

In Hironimus Case, Circumcision Scheduled for 4-Year-old; Protest Planned at Hospital

The boy 4-year-old boy caught in the middle of a circumcision battle between his parents is supposedly scheduled to have the procedure done this week. And anti-circumcision protestors are planning to picket outside the doctor's office on the day before and the day of the scheduled circumcision.

Anti-circumcision group South Florida Inactivists Unite say they learned that the procedure is scheduled to be performed on Thursday by Dr. Gary Birken in Hollywood.

Birken, a board-certified pediatric surgeon, has been the Surgeon-in-Chief at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital since 2004, according to his bio

Interestingly, someone claiming to work for Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital supposedly sent an anonymous message to one the protest groups known as Chase's Guardians, saying that hospital administration is allegedly threatening to fire any staffer that participates in the protest in any way. The message goes on to say that staff were warned not to call in sick.

The anonymous message also alleges that Dr. Birken has pressured patients and parents to undergo circumcisions in the past, and further accuses Birken of possibly planning to restrain the boy to put him under anesthesia "without regard" to his medical history.

A message left by New Times for hospital spokesperson Kerting Baldwin regarding the anonymous message has yet to be returned. 

We recently learned that a Dr. Gary Birken has agreed to perform a medically unnecessary circumcision on four year old...

Posted by South Florida Intactivists Unite on Monday, June 8, 2015

Anti-circumcision activists — who call themselves inactivists —  have been aggressive in siding with Heather Hironimus ever since she tried to keep her husband, Dennis Nebus, from having their son circumcised. But last month, after being jailed on an interference with custody charge, Hironimus reluctantly signed a consent form to allow for her son to be circumcised after a judge gave her an ultimatum.

The activists vowed to keep fighting on her behalf, and began a letter writing campaign to be sent out to pediatric surgeons across the country to keep them from performing the procedure on the boy. 

In February, activists protested the doctors offices at South Florida Pediatric Surgeons in Plantation after they learned the boy was scheduled to be circumcised there. 

But the group has also been accused of being overly aggressive in their zeal to keep the boy from being circumcised.

According to Nebus' testimony at a hearing in March, three Florida doctors had removed themselves from performing the procedure after apparently receiving what Nebus called "threatening letters" from some activists. Nebus claimed that he personally had received death threats from people involved with the groups.

During his testimony, Nebus also detailed an incident in which Hironimus herself burst into a doctor's office where the child was being examined in order to schedule a procedure. Nebus said she "threw a tantrum" and yelled at the medical staff that she had not given consent for the boy to be examined by the doctor. Nebus said their son, who had witnessed the outburst, was "visibly shaken."

Protesters are panning to meet at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood. As of this writing, 36 have committed to go via the group's Facebook event page. They also plan to protest on Thursday.
KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph