Steven I. Weiss has been doing some work on the circumcision deal between haredim and NY State. He interviewed an expert cited by the state in support of its new protocol. The expert, Dr. Timothy F. Meiller, had never heard of metzitza b'peh (MBP), the controversy or the new protocol. Worse yet – he rejects the state's use of his data and is firmly against MBP:
By way of example, he said, “If a dentist called me and asked, having read my paper, if a patient rinses with Listerine, do I have to wear gloves? My answer to them would be: Are you crazy? Of course you have to wear gloves.” He noted “In this procedure, it’s slapping that in the face and saying I’m gonna use some superficial technique and say I’m now ok; you’re not.”
“As a scientist who knows a little bit about virus, I would recommend against the procedure. I would not rely on a surface disinfectant, it’s just too variable. I can’t rely on that being a trustworthy procedure.”
Asked how he would have responded if the state’s health department had contacted him when formulating its protocol, Meiller replied “I would have said that I didn’t think it was enough data to make a decision on anything…it’s like having unprotected sex; in today’s world, it’s just not worth it.”
“Clearly, this is not a procedure that I would think should be condoned,” he said.
So Commissioner Novello struck a dangerous deal with haredim. Why? I believe it is because haredim vote in blocks under the direction of their leaders. (Remember when Hillary got something like 98% of the New Square vote?) Satmar, etc., voting in a block for Governor Pataki in whatever office he next chooses to seek is apparently enough incentive to allow the needless deaths and maimings of a few eight-day-old infants.
SIW also has a copy of a letter sent by NYC's health commissioner to Novello ripping apart the state's new protocol and showing clearly why it is fatally flawed – this without knowing that Dr. Meiller was not in agreement with the use of his work and the conclusions drawn from it. Dr. Friedan closes with the hope that the state's new protocol will nonetheless help. One should presume his wishes for the success of the protocol would have been much less strong if he had known about Dr. Meiller's objections – and if his boss, Michael Bloomberg was not grovelling for Satmar votes.