IRISH EXAMINER, Cork, Thursday, 21 August 2003.

Baby dies after botched circumcision

By Neans McSweeney
GARDAÍ were last night searching for a man who carried out a botched circumcision on a four-week-old baby who later died in hospital. Little Callis Osaghae's Nigerian parents, 31-year-old Idehen and his wife, Mabel, 23, rushed him to Waterford Regional Hospital when he began bleeding heavily after the procedure was carried out in a city centre house on Sunday night.

The ritual circumcision on the baby was performed by a man who has no medical training. Staff at the hospital alerted gardaí who have launched an investigation.

Last night, Dr Philip Crowley, project director of the Irish College of General Practitioners' General Practice in a Multicultural Society, said the Osaghae family had been failed by the Irish medical system.

The ICGP has made several representations to the South Eastern Health Board, stressing the need for circumcision services on religious grounds in Waterford.

The South Eastern Health Board confirmed last night that circumcisions at Waterford Regional Hospital were only carried out on medical grounds.

However, Dr Crowley said: "There is a need for this service in Waterford. This tragedy has shown us that if people are determined to have a child circumcised, they will do so. Ireland is now a multicultural society and we should have these services available to those who chose to use them.

"We have made several representations over the past months, urging the health board to develop this service. People would be less likely to have these procedures done in their own home, were they available in our hospitals. This little boy wouldn't have died were the procedure carried out in a hospital."

Dr Margaret Bolster of the State Pathologists' office has already carried out a post mortem on the boy, but the results have been inconclusive.

The couple rent a townhouse at Summerhill Mews, close to Waterford city centre. They have two daughters and the little boy was their first son. He was born on July 19 and would have been a month old on Tuesday.

They arrived in Ireland over a year ago and made an application for asylum on June 27 last year. That application was subsequently withdrawn.

(File prepared 23 August 2003)