Manchester Baby Boy Bleeds To Death After Circumcision

In Manchester, England, a four-week-old boy bled to death after a circumcision performed without anesthetic, in which the nurse used only scissors, forceps, and olive oil and did not perform appropriate postoperative care.

This is obviously an extreme case. Most circumcisions are performed in hospitals with postoperative care and modern surgical techniques. Nevertheless, circumcisions can be dangerous. Children can face infections, bleeding, and removal of an insufficient amount of tissue. In rare cases, the child’s penis can be lost or, as in this tragic case, the child can die.

Circumcisions don’t really do anything.  They have some mild health benefits (but the science is mixed and most of the health benefits can be gotten by washing regularly and using condoms anyway) and they may reduce sexual pleasure (but again the science is mixed). Their primary benefit is aesthetic– which is fucked itself. Why shouldn’t people with penises be allowed to decide for themselves, when they’re adults, whether or not they would prefer for their penis to be circumcised? Why on earth would we risk complications ranging from infections to death for absolutely no reason at all?

Oh, right, I forgot, it’s tradition. They just won’t feel right if they don’t look like their daddy. And children’s bodily autonomy doesn’t matter anyway, it’s not like they’re people.

Photo credit– miss pupik/Flickr. A newborn baby tearing up. 

About ozyfrantz

Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.


  1. Nurse Grace Adeleye guilty of killing baby in botched circumcision.

    A nurse has been found guilty of manslaughter after causing a baby’s death by botching his circumcision.

    Grace Adeleye, 67, carried out the procedure on four-week-old Goodluck Caubergs at an address in Chadderton, Oldham, in April 2010.

    The boy bled to death before he could reach hospital the following day.

    Adeleye was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence at Manchester Crown Court.

    BBC News

  2. wellokaythen says:

    How far does freedom of religion and preserving tradition go? There have to be some limits, like with every kind of freedom. If it’s anything goes in the name of tradition or religion, then people with indigeous Mexican ancestry ought to be allowed to perform human sacrifice. It makes the rains come and water the crops, you know.

  3. Aaron Burr says:

    I’d like to offer some background information regarding infant circumcision.

    Very few people realize that a century ago, doctors struggled to make a living, and were constantly seeking additional procedures they could perform that would bring in extra money.

    Infant circumcision was promoted to physicians as an extra service which could be sold to parents of newborns. That’s really the ONLY reason why infant circumcision became customary in the United States.

    My dad was circumcised in 1911 when he was born in a hospital, which was very atypical for rural America at the time since most children were born at home. As far as I know, he was the first male in our family to be circumcised. I and my four brothers were all routinely circumcised when we were born in the 30’s and 40’s.

    Much more recently my daughter in law agonized over the decision to circumcise her new born, and finally did so because she thought it might be an issue to her son as he grew up that his penis didn’t resemble his father’s.

    The medical justifications for circumcision are, as far as I know, limited to following reasons: first, penile infections are quite common among uncircumcised boys, but are virtually unknown among circumcised boys. Penile cancer, which develops beneath the foreskin, occurs for obvious reasons only to uncircumcised males. It is usually treated by amputation; however horrifying that may be, it is also extremely rare.

    Finally, the wives of circumcised men have lower rates of cervical cancer.

    Whether any of that justifies the continuance of infant circumcision isn’t for me for say. I do know of boys who were circumcised years later because they had a tight foreskin, and I also know of one mother who was advised by a pediatrician that she have her infant circumcised for the same reason.

    I have also know men who were circumcised in adulthood because of recurrent penile infections, and they report that the entire procedure is excruciatingly painful and disabling for at least a month. Also, in an analogue to the Jewish Bar Mitzvah, islamic boys are ritually circumcised at age 13. If I recall correctly, the recovery period is at least a month, and often is longer. The pain is also described as excruciating.

    I have had a series of verapamil injections into my penis as a treatment for Peyronie’s Disease, and I can tell you that those were extremely painful (especially when done by a ham fisted Urological Resident), so I can readily understand why adult circumcision is so painful.

    The gay sex columnist Dan Savage reports that both he and his husband think that circumcised men “taste much better.” Nonetheless, when their son was born, they did not have him circumcised, reasoning that he could make that decision when he became an adult.

    Wholly as an aside, forty odd years ago I was unable to find any information whatsoever on the psychological effects of severe infantile or childhood pain. I even interviewed several child psychiatrists and a professor of child psychiatry, and none would even hazard an opinion on the issue. Needless to say, that really made my study much more difficult. I don’t know if any research into the supposed psychological trauma caused by circumcision to infant boys has been done since.

    That’s really all the objective information that’s available regarding circumcision. I can personally report that the loss of my foreskin has never been an issue for me, but the last thing I want to do is suggest that because it isn’t an issue for me, it shouldn’t be for you.

    However, I do object to such inflammatory terms such as “genital mutilation,” as it tends to suggest that infantile circumcision is equivalent in human rights terms to so-called “female circumcision,” which is actually clitoral (and, in some cases, labial) excision. It simply isn’t. It may be misguided, but it’s certainly not torture or multination.

    • @Aaron Burr However, I do object to such inflammatory terms such as “genital mutilation,” as it tends to suggest that infantile circumcision is equivalent in human rights terms to so-called “female circumcision,” which is actually clitoral (and, in some cases, labial) excision. It simply isn’t. It may be misguided, but it’s certainly not torture or multination.

      I’m sorry, but that simply doers not agree with your own comments and views concerning excruciating pain and Islamic circumcision at age 13. To quote:

      Also, in an analogue to the Jewish Bar Mitzvah, islamic boys are ritually circumcised at age 13. If I recall correctly, the recovery period is at least a month, and often is longer. The pain is also described as excruciating. Source

      Bit of a cognitive dissonance there mate!

      As to the issue of trauma and psychology which you checked out some 40 or so years ago – well thankfully things and thinking have moved on. Have a Look at Google Scholar and do a search for “trauma+circumcision”. It pulls up some real page turners like “Male circumcision: pain, trauma and psychosexual sequelae” – which of course made it to the top of the NY Times best sellers (Mega Irony with a Twist) – and that is why it’s so well known and the subject tripping off every tongue.

      And I have no axes to grind – I was born in Europe and avoided the snip …. thank heavens.

      doi: 10.1177/135910530200700310
      J Health Psychol May 2002 vol. 7 no. 3 329-343
      Gregory J. Boyle, Bond University, Australia
      Ronald Goldman, Circumcision Resource Center, Boston, USA
      J. Steven Svoboda, Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, Berkeley, USA
      Ephrem Fernandez, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA


      Infant male circumcision continues despite growing questions about its medical justification. As usually performed without analgesia or anaesthetic, circumcision is observably painful. It is likely that genital cutting has physical, sexual and psychological consequences too. Some studies link involuntary male circumcision with a range of negative emotions and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some circumcised men have described their current feelings in the language of violation, torture, mutilation and sexual assault. In view of the acute as well as long-term risks from circumcision and the legal liabilities that might arise, it is timely for health professionals and scientists to re-examine the evidence on this issue and participate in the debate about the advisability of this surgical procedure on unconsenting minors.

      I’ve even been reading about possible links between rates of circumcision and crime – where one is up the other is up. How odd.

    • Jack Pine says:

      You say: However, I do object to such inflammatory terms such as “genital mutilation,” as it tends to suggest that infantile circumcision is equivalent in human rights terms to so-called “female circumcision,” which is actually clitoral (and, in some cases, labial) excision. It simply isn’t. It may be misguided, but it’s certainly not torture or multination.

      1) Not torture?: if it’s excruciatingly painful, then what semantic game are you playing to say it’s not torturous?
      2) Female genital mutilation covers a spectrum from “mild” to severe. Even when only the clitoral hood is cut away the results are called mutilation and for good reason.
      3) You don’t know if your own circumcision has been an issue for you or not, since can’t know how it might have been. Ignorance is bliss.

    • Hate to break it to you, but no, intact men don’t have a greater rate of infections. It’s still a small percentage even for intact boys. Secondly, circumcised men can VERY MUCH get penile cancer. It isn’t only intact men that get it. Women having less rates of cervical cancer with circumcised men is completely false. That has not even been proven at all. Just look at the rates of cervical cancer of US women to women from countries where circumcision is not normal.

      Oh, and don’t you dare tell me circumcision is not mutilation. It IS mutilation! People have EVERY right to compare it to female circumcision because they are both mutilation of the genitals. Oh, and no, female circumcision is NOT just one procedure. Not all girls who get circumcised have their clitoris’ removed. I suggest actually doing research on this.

  4. Er…you forgot religion as a reason. Or are you including that under “tradition?”

  5. As a victim of circumcision, I often have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that my parents not only allowed it, but paid a guy to do it. This is an especially touchy subject for me because I remember parts of it. My dad has always defended me and looked out for me my whole life, but this is one instance where he really dropped the ball. My mom, I kinda expect her to make bad decisions. I’ve thought about confronting my parents about it, but I don’t see anything to be gained by doing so. It’s not like they can undo the circumcision. I’m already doing the closest thing.

    I’m not a fan of lip service though, and I’d like to see something real being done to put an end to genital mutilation. The pain is worse than anything you can imagine and nobody deserves to be put through that, especially infants with extra-sensitive nerve endings.

    • wat.

    • I have very vague memories of places I lived as a toddler, and I find it extremely unlikely you remember something that happened when you were, at most, a few days old.

      Now if you were 5 or something when you were circumcised, I could see you remembering that, but specific events tend not to be remembered until one has learned how to read.

      • Christina says:

        What makes you think that Abubaca was an infant when he was circumcised? My assumption was that, exactly because memories of infanthood are so rare, he was a toddler when it happened.

        Fwiw, I have a friend who was circumcised as a toddler for medical reasons and he does indeed remember the pain and describes it as excruciating.

        • wellokaythen says:

          There are cases in which circumcision is medically indicated to cure or relieve a particular condition such as a birth defect. But, this represents a tiny fraction of the operations in the US.

      • @The_L – no age is given to judge from, and your personal memories are not the issue.

        Circumcision can be performed at many ages, and not just on an infant of a few days of age.

        Also, there are well documented examples of age recall from a few week and months of age. These can be linked to pain, and similar to the encoding of memory linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Hyper Amygdala activation occurs with many bodily insults, both physical and psychological – and of course the Amygdala is directly linked to both memory encoding and recall.

        I personally have memories which place me at between 14 and 18 months of age – and I wasn’t reading until I was 4/5. The memories relate to 1) A Grand Father’s death 2) Me being at a dock side with my parents to welcome a relative returning from over seas – and me being dropped and nearly ending up in the dock! In both instances the memory is linked to the reaction of people around me and not just to personal physical integrity.

      • I’m not sure about my age because seriously, nobody can put early childhood memories in chronological order, but I can estimate. I’m pretty sure I was more than “a few days old” because I remember the color the doctor was wearing and infants can’t see color until at least a few months. I don’t think I could walk at the time (but I’m not sure). I remember it vaguely, I have clear memories past age 3, and I probably would have remembered my circumcision clearly if I was more than 3 years old, so that places me between ~4 months and 3 years.

      • Just because you can’t remember something, doesn’t make it okay.

  6. David in SF says:

    Yes! I am horribly upset over the genital mutilation I had to endure as an infant! It’s an outrage!

    [Looks down at his penis circumcised by a doctor who knew what he was doing, that has pleasured literally hundreds of men over 2 decades ,and has been the source of unending pleasure for over 3 decades.]

    I’m sorry if you don’t like what happened to you. I really am. However, I am quite happy as are many millions of other men who have had circumcision. This is not “our” issue – as “all men”. It is “your” issue – as in “look in the mirror”.

    Find a support group. Hell, found a support group if you feel this strongly. Whatever you decide to do I suggest you also grow up. If it was done to you, it’s DONE. Find a way to fix it or find a way to live with it. The procedure is not going away and railing against it to a chorus who has no interest in hearing your song is going to help no one. If you would like to do something productive then think about addressing the standards that doctor’s use to determine the qualifications for performing circumcision.

    • Nice reply David. Now, replace the word “circumcision” with “rape’ and see how long you can take yourself seriously.

      I understand that you, and many other men are perfectly happy about being circumcised. Hell, after seeing video footage of a man go through a DIY castration (complete with commentary) on the BME boards, I’m convinced there isn’t a single body modification, however extreme, that doesn’t please at least some people.

      So you’re okay with, even glad about, being circumcised. You don’t mind that such a profoundly personal discussion was made for you and a very private part of you was cut off. You don’t care about the daily discomfort caused by it, and aren’t about to waste a second of your life wondering what it would be like having intact, fully functioning genitals. You’ve adapted and made well with what you have. Good for you. You are the victim of circumstance, but also a beneficiary of coincidence. You’re own aesthetics allow you to appreciate what was done to you.

      What I can’t quite figure out is why it is so beyond you to comprehend the simple fact that not all people think the way you do; that your being content with something that was done to you does not negate the grievances of others. As a gay male, you of all people should know this. Your reply here comes off as not only cold hearted and petty, but also asinine and childishly defensive (of what I wonder…).

      If an uncircumcised man decides the body he was born with makes him ill, he has every right to do something about it. He can look into having his penile hood removed on his own terms, after weighing the risks and perceived benefits. Whatever the outcome, he will either enjoy his decision or regret it. Either way it’s his decision. As far as adult circumcision being more painful, well, in addition to being highly debatable this is also simply a fact of life. Plastic surgery, despite its addictive qualities, is rarely ever a pleasant procedure. Adult circumcision may be painful, but that’s something that’s dealt with (pain medication, anesthesia). I much prefer the idea of an adult being given medicine and comprehensive instructions on how to manage pain, over the idea that a screaming infant cannot feel (as much) pain simply because they can’t formulate words so c’est la vie. A society is truly rotten to the core when it views being preverbal as being somehow lesser.

      Would you be willing to undergo adult circumcision had you not been done as an infant, David? If not, then it must not be that great…

      But what can a circumcised man who is unhappy about having his genitals surgically altered do? Circumcision is irreversible. Sure he can “restore” but this isn’t the same thing. It is the fact that circumcision is a surgical procedure that is totally irreversible that makes it so heinous; and why no amount of circumcised male satisfaction trumps circumcised male dissatisfaction. A circumcised man’s dissatisfaction over his circumcision is an infinitely stronger reason for discontinuing the practice than a circumcised man’s satisfaction is for continuing it.

      Again, glad you’re happy with everything, but I’m really curious as to what makes you feel you have the right to snub anyone who isn’t even a tiny bit happy about having a part of their genitals cut off when they were at their most vulnerable.

      • It would seem that David in SF is just a pseudo concern troll – and likes to get a rise.

        The played character is not Pro or Anti – they just don’t care and all others are whiners … Pure Troll. Also it’s a known bully technique to make inflammatory comment, which requires a great deal of time to debunk, so it’s all about yanking peoples strings and wasting their time and energy. The hectoring tone also carries the same emotionally abusive tone associated with low grade bully.

        I do think the claims of being gay was an interesting touch, as it’s designed to be inflammatory twice over. As such I suspect that this David in SF has many issues and antagonisms, and probably feeds on any issue they can cause controversy over.

      • ZuiyoMaru says:

        “You don’t care about the daily discomfort caused by it, and aren’t about to waste a second of your life wondering what it would be like having intact, fully functioning genitals.”

        I absolutely hate it when anti-circ people put it this way. I’m circumcised, but I hear all the time that this means I’m not fully functional. That’s a really shaming thing to say. I understand your opposition to infant circumcision, but it isn’t necessary to shame circumcised people to make your point.

        • It must just be me with Eurocentric existence and steeped in Eurocentric Psychology – but why is the word Shame and Shaming being used here ( If fact Why does it get used so much in the USA)?

          Shame and Shaming are specific and quite distinct references to a profound Psychological State. The usage here indicates that the person who has an uncircumcised penis is dealing with this profoundly negative mental state because someone has made comment about people with uncircumcised penises.

          It would appear to be not only poor choice of language, but bizarrely inverted and even nonsensical. I do hope that Shame and Shaming haven’t tuned into yet another Meme and Internet Vouge as control language.

        • Allow me to clarify. My intention was not, and has never been to “shame” anybody when talking about the differences between cut and intact male genitals. I’m not going to sit here and say that circumcised penises are worthless, or useless, because they’re not. When I say “fully functioning” I mean just that: an intact body part that hasn’t had a part of it amputated for no reason. A body part that hasn’t had a useful protective covering and/or thousands of nerve endings destroyed. Many circumcised men can urinate, get an erection and ejaculate just as well as the next, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they are missing an important sensory and protective organ, or that a large part of the physiology of their penis has been changed (again, for no reason) from one with gliding movement to a stationary dowel like protrusion.

          Again, I mean no disrespect, but this is the very destructive nature of circumcision. I’m not about to sugar coat what someone doesn’t want to here, when it has always been ignorance and a lack of knowledge about the procedure and it’s lasting effects that has allowed it to continue for far too long.

          I’m sorry, but if this offends you, I’m not the one to blame.

    • John Smith says:

      Yes, it is “our” issue. Millions of baby’s every year undergo completely unnecessary surgery. Just because you are happy dose not make it right. There are millions of women who undergo FGM every year and many of them are happy, yet that dose not make it right. How dose a support group or some other nonsense stop unnecessary surgery happening to millions of other boys?

      Circumcision is nothing more than cosmetic surgery undertaken for no good reason. Just because you are happy dose not mean everyone is happy, and once it is done it cannot be undone.

    • wellokaythen says:

      My follow-up question would be to ask if you would have been just as happy being circumcised if you had it done when you were an adult. If yes, then there’s nothing wrong with letting adults make that decision for themselves instead of performing it on people who can’t consent. If you’re happy with the procedure, then you shouldn’t mind leaving the decision until the boy grows up.

  7. PastorofMuppets says:

    Between this misleading drivel and the wacko Karl Rove conspiracy, I’m starting to suspect the GMP has either lost all sense of sanity or its editors have simply been caught starting their weekend a couple days early.
    One can make very good arguments against circumcision. This isn’t even close to one of them.
    This is akin to demanding that cosmetic surgery be outlawed because someone got a fatal silicone injection in her rear on the black market. (Yes, that really happened).

  8. Tobysgirl says:

    There is an excellent video (Child Circumcision: The Elephant in the Hospital) circulating which everyone should watch. A qualified surgeon performs genital mutilation on a baby boy. MGM was widely practiced in the U.K. and approximately 14 boys a year died from the surgery; MGM is now not a common practice. However, it still is in the U.S. and a number of babies die from it every year.

    Check out the Intactivist website, please!

    • I do wonder at what is the driver for the USA to be continuing with Routine Circumcision?

      Even the medical claims have been debunked. Is there a Financial Driver meaning circumcision gets you lower health care insurance?

      The cultural and social dissonance has to have a reason.

      • I honestly don’t get it either.

        I could understand it if Jewish boys were getting circumcised, but there aren’t anywhere near that many Jewish people in the United States. Circumcision certainly isn’t all that widespread in Europe, or in other countries in the Americas.

      • I don’t think it’s a huge financial incentive, but it is one more cost. If you look at states where medicaid does not pay for the procedure, the rates of circumcision is much lower.

  9. Ozzy a few facts you failed to mention. The child died in April 2010 – over 2 and a half years ago.

    The circumcision was carried out by an unlicensed and unqualified person – who is facing Murder Charges in Court! They are being prosecuted for Manslaughter (Involuntary Murder) – not bad choices in aesthetics or some form of fashion faux par!

    The way you describe it does not show that it is extreme, even if you throw the word in for effect!

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