7-Day-old died after circumcision

THE MIRROR, London, England, Thursday, 15 February 2007.

Exclusive by : Stephen Moyes

DETECTIVES are investigating the death of a seven-day-old baby after he was circumcised.

Stunned relatives at the Jewish ceremony saw the toddler experience breathing difficulties.

He was taken to hospital but died eight days later. A post mortem found the infant died from cardiac arrest and oxygen starvation.

Police are to interview family members and the senior rabbi who performed the operation at Golders Green Synagogue in North London. Concerns raised by doctors treating the baby have led to the probe being led by Scotland Yard's child abuse investigators.

Police and Home Office sources said the investigation was "highly unusual".

A Scotland Yard spokesman stated: "The death is being treated as unexplained at this early stage."

The baby died two weeks ago at University College Hospital, Central London.

Circumcision of boys is an operation in which the foreskin is removed from the penis. With small babies, local anaesthetic is often sufficient and avoids the risks of a general anaesthetic.

Some people believe the skin is redundant and gets in the way of hygiene.

Others say it is a vital part of the male anatomy and should not be removed.

Judaism considers circumcision to be an important ritual. The operation is usually performed by a mohel - a specialist in the procedure and its rituals.

Many British mohels are doctors, rabbis or both. All have received appropriate medical and religious training.

A spokesman for The United Synagogue, a membership of 35 orthodox synagogues in Greater London, said: "We are awaiting the results of the police enquiry and until then it would not be appropriate for us to comment further."


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