It doesn't happen often, but when a doctor botches a child's circumcision, it's heart-breaking.
Maggie Rhodes is dealing with that heartbreak right now, after a catastrophic mistake on the operating table.
Removal of the foreskin from a child's penis is rooted in concerns about health, hygiene and religion. But some question the necessity of the procedure.
Rhodes is sorry she ever took her young son to get circumcised.
"After I went home and I discovered that my son's penis was not there, I immediately froze, like, oh my God," Rhodes recalls.
The mother said she couldn't believe what happened when she took her three-month-old son Ashton to Christ Community Health Center on Broad Avenue for a circumcision in August. She says doctors told her the procedure would take about 20 minutes.
But after a couple hours, Ashton was still in surgery.
"It took them about three hours to do the circumcision and so my baby screamed the whole three hours, like the whole process," Rhodes said. "Then even when she gave him back to us, he was still screaming."
Rhodes said the doctor performing the surgery obviously botched the procedure. But when it was over, she says they simply returned her screaming son to her, never telling her about the devastating mistake that had happened in the operating room.
"I should have been notified that something went wrong in this room with your baby," she said. "I wasn't notified. They gave me back my baby like nothing was wrong. They said, 'here go your son.' Yeah, something went wrong in that room."
It's something Rhodes said she didn't find out about until she went home with a still screaming son, and a diaper filled with blood.
She said her curious sister finally discovered Ashton's mutilated penis.
"When my sister pulled the cloth back, it was covered in blood and it was no penis there," Rhodes said.
All that was left was a partial penis and his tiny testicles. Rhodes said Ashton urinates through a hole in his penis. She says she can't imagine what she'll say to her son, when he's old enough to understand what happened to him.
"Like, 'Momma like, how could this happen to me? How could this happen to me?,'" she said. "How could you explain that to your child that you don't have a penis that they have to reconstruct one or you probably have might not never be able to have kids? That don't sit well with me at all."
Rhodes has hired an attorney and is pursuing a medical malpractice suit against Christ Community Health Centers.
As for little Ashton, a reconstructive surgery planned for October has been rescheduled for early next year.
FOX13 News contacted Christ Community Health Centers for a comment. We're told the CEO is aware of our request, but so far has not returned our repeated calls.