Using a Catheter Without Retraction: My Nurse Did It and So Can Yours!

By Samantha Jones

My baby boy was admitted to the hospital this evening after several hours of vomiting and becoming weak and lethargic. He could barely open his eyes when we arrived. An IV was started and hospital staff wanted a urine sample and decided to use a catheter for collection. I am well aware of proper intact care and catheter insertion, so holding my baby, I looked this nurse dead in the eye and said clearly, "DO NOT RETRACT HIM."

She replied, "Not even a little...?"

I clarified, "No. Not even a little. Not at all."

And with that, this Indiana ER nurse began her first catheter insertion on an intact baby boy without so much as a hint of retraction. In the middle of the process she said, "I don't know how to do it like this..." But she figured it out, as nurses the world over do each day, and the catheter was inserted quickly and simply.

No retraction took place.

Unfortunately, no urine came out with the catheter due to dehydration. When the nurse came back into the room later I thanked her for not retracting my son. We had a nice discussion about circumcision and she mentioned that the word around the hospital is that Indiana Medicaid is going to stop covering routine infant circumcision! This was good news to me - but not so much to her. She continued on about 'parents not cleaning' and 'gunk getting in there.' I corrected the myths I've heard so many times before, but I'm not sure she believed me. There is still so much work to be done in our state. It brought me to tears all over again.

Standing up to medical professionals can make me nervous - especially when my baby boy's wellbeing is at stake. I was in a state of panic - so concerned for him, and having to defend and protect him from forced retraction at the same time. Parents of intact boys should not have to face such things when they enter hospitals today.

Once this nurse realized she had no choice but to insert this catheter without retraction, it took her all of 30 seconds to complete the task. That is how easy it really is! I am sharing this first hand experience with other parents so you know that catheterization can be done without retracting at all - even if a nurse has absolutely no prior experience in using a catheter with intact boys, and has no knowledge of proper intact care. Even in the midst of a very circumcision-happy hospital, in the heart of a pro-cutting state, it can easily be done. It is my hope that this gives others more confidence in your quick decision making and ability to stand up on behalf of your own sons.

Please see: Urine Samples and Catheter Insertion for Intact Boys and the comments that follow.

Care reminder stickers for use on diaper tabs during doctor visits, nursery time or at daycare.

Physicians' Don't Retract Packs
with pediatric organization statements


  1. Yes, folks, In Europe we do not tear baby genitals to insert a catheter, whether for girls or boys. Nor are little boys genitally cut, we leave them intact with a fully functional penis.

  2. You are amazing - thank you for this story and education, not only for that nurse, but for all parents and medical professionals. Imagine, a parent having to educate a nurse like this to protect her son!


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