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.”

Comments (2)

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4:19pm Wed 9 Sep 09

ml66uk says...

Amitai was healthy before the bris and clinically dead about 35 minutes later. It's not impossible for this to have been natural causes, but I think it's far more likely to have been related to the circumcision. For the coroner to rule out any connection seems like a cover-up.

It's not that long since the GMC ruled in the death of a Muslim child that "the wound where the circumcision had taken place may well have been the portal for entry of infection into the child's body", but also found "no causal link between the circumcision and what subsequently happened to that child".

Why does no-one want to admit that circumcision can be dangerous?
Amitai was healthy before the bris and clinically dead about 35 minutes later. It's not impossible for this to have been natural causes, but I think it's far more likely to have been related to the circumcision. For the coroner to rule out any connection seems like a cover-up. It's not that long since the GMC ruled in the death of a Muslim child that "the wound where the circumcision had taken place may well have been the portal for entry of infection into the child's body", but also found "no causal link between the circumcision and what subsequently happened to that child". Why does no-one want to admit that circumcision can be dangerous? ml66uk
  • Score: 2

11:05pm Wed 9 Sep 09

Hugh7 says...

The Initiation Society, a circumcision interest group, was represented by a QC. Non-circumcision interest groups such as NORM-UK, and the baby, were not. The pathologist who performed the autopsy was not called, so what was the "naturally occuring disease process which simply ran its course" and how does the coroner know that? SIDS is a description of a mystery, not a disease with a known course (or we might have a lot less of it).

Opponents of infant and child gential cutting are not "ill-intentioned" and have no focus on the Jewish ritual. By far the greater proportion of circumcision in the UK and the world is Muslim, followed by non-therapeutic "routine" circumcision. All are human rights issues - most especially when death follows.
The Initiation Society, a circumcision interest group, was represented by a QC. Non-circumcision interest groups such as NORM-UK, and the baby, were not. The pathologist who performed the autopsy was not called, so what was the "naturally occuring disease process which simply ran its course" and how does the coroner know that? SIDS is a description of a mystery, not a disease with a known course (or we might have a lot less of it). Opponents of infant and child gential cutting are not "ill-intentioned" and have no focus on the Jewish ritual. By far the greater proportion of circumcision in the UK and the world is Muslim, followed by non-therapeutic "routine" circumcision. All are human rights issues - most especially when death follows. Hugh7
  • Score: 1

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