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Baby died of 'natural causes' after circumcision at Golders Green Synagogue
A JEWISH baby boy died from natural causes after a circumcision procedure in Golders Green, a coroner has ruled.
Amitai Moshe was just a week old when he underwent the traditional operation at Golders Green Synagogue on February 1, 2007.
Today, Coroner Andrew Walker ruled the procedure had nothing to do with the boy's death, with was caused by sudden infant death syndrome, commonly known as cot death.
Amitai, of Sandringham Road, Golders Green, collapsed in his mother Yotvat Geva-Moshe's arms more than 30 minutes after the procedure, and turned blue while bleeding from the nose and mouth as guests at the service rushed to help.
He was taken to the University College Hospital but was declared dead eight days later.
Early speculation had linked the baby's death to the circumcision, which was carried out by a member of the Initiation Society, but that theory was categorically ruled out by the coroner at Hornsey Coroners Court.
Mr Walker said: “I am satisfied to say the death was as a result of a naturally occurring disease process which simply ran its course.
“Any connection with Amitai's tragic death and the circumcision itself can be ruled out and I accept the circumcision was skillfully and deftly undertaken.
“There can be no suggestion that the Rabbi was in any way at fault or to blame for this tragedy.”
Professor Peter Fleming, a world leading expert on sudden infant death syndrome, gave key evidence to the hearing and said in his opinion the circumcision did not contribute to the baby's death.
He said: “With the circumcision itself, I can't think of any mechanism that would be responsible.”
After the ruling, Jonathan Goldberg QC, who represented the Initiation Society, hit out at critics who had tried to link the circumcision procedure and Amitai's death.
He said: “This verdict puts paid to those ill-intentioned people who would have tried to use this tragedy to attack Jewish circumcision.
“Professor Fleming, a world renowned expert, demonstrated conclusively that the death was a freak occurrence due to sudden infant death syndrome, wholly unrelated to the circumcision.”
Amitai was rushed to hospital after the collapse by Orthodox Jewish ambulance service Hatzola, a volunteer force established in Golders Green nearly 30 years ago.
Although the organisation was cleared of any blame for Amitai's death, David Segal, one of its trustees, told the hearing the organisation had “learnt a lot” from Amitai's death and reviewed training procedures for volunteers and what equipment is carried in its ambulances.
It has also appointed a medical director to help it prepare for any future rare cases it has to deal with, such as sudden infant death syndrome.
Amitai's parents were not present at the inquest, and Mr Walker said in their absence: “I know of all people nothing I will ever be able to say will be enough to comfort them for this loss.”
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