Baby Bleeds to Death after Circumcision

MIAMI HERALD, Miami, Florida, June 26, 1993.


Miami, June 26, 1993

The Miami Herald reported the death of 6 month old Carol City baby, Demetrius Manker. Manker bled to death after being circumcised.

"I can't express the way it has affected me emotionally," the child's mother, Louise Manker, said. "It's something I'll never get over. This was my last child." A Miami pediatrician circumcised 25-pound Demetrius Manker in his office. After his mother took him home, she saw he was bleeding from the incision.

Manker subsequently called the doctor several times, according to their attorney, Patrick Cordero.

"One of the instructions was that she put Vaseline around the penis area to stop the bleeding." Cordero said, "she followed the instructions to the letter."

Louise Manker's sister grew so alarmed by his continued bleeding that she called paramedics, Cordero said. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

An autopsy showed that his liver and other organs had gone pale from the loss of blood, said Dade [County] Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Wetli.

"The message to get across is that this is weird, unusual," Wetli said. "I've done close to six thousand autopsies and this is the first I've seen where a baby died from circumcision. It's probably the safest procedure you could think of.

An autopsy revealed a seemly normal circumcision, Wetli said.

The doctor who performed the surgery, Robert D. Young, said the circumcision had gone well. "I would not have let him go home if I didn't think so. Medical examiners will confirm the soundness of the operation.

Authorities say they will try to determine if the baby suffered from some rare disease that prevented his blood from coagulating. It's also possible that Louise Manker did not understand the extent of the bleeding, especially because a baby has a fraction of an adult's blood supply, Wetli said.

"There's two parts to the story," the deputy medical examiner said, Why was the child bleeding? And secondly what was the level of communication if the mother said he's bleeding but didn't say how much.


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