Toddler dies in botched Italian circumcision
A two-year-old boy bled to death following a home circumcision at a refugee centre in Rome’s northeastern suburb of Monterotondo at the weekend, leading to a police investigation.
A Libyan-born US citizen was arrested for suspected manslaughter, said Tivoli state prosecutor Francesco Menditto.
The Italian media said the 66-year-old called himself a doctor.
Circumcision is currently unavailable in public hospitals in Italy.
The child was born in Italy in January 2017 to a Nigerian woman who claimed asylum, according to reports.
She is Catholic but reportedly asked for the operations out of respect for the Islamic traditions of Nigeria.
The mother purportedly has five other children in Nigeria.
His twin brother underwent the operation and was admitted to Sant’Andrea hospital and then the pediatric intensive care at Gemelli Hospital in Rome.
“One of the two children, transported to the hospital S Andrea in Rome, died of complications yet to be verified, while the other is currently in hospital,” Meditto said.
Foad Aodi, the founder of the Amsi association of foreign doctors in Italy, said: “We have been committed for years to the legality and the right of health and religious respect for all against all forms of do-it-yourself illegality and care, and clandestine circumcisions from unauthorised and clandestine personnel and facilities.”
Some 5,000 circumcisions were performed in Italy each year, Aodi said, with more than 35 per cent done at home in a clandestine manner. He blamed economic reasons and a lack of authorised clinics.
Aodi appealed for circumcision at public and private clinics at prices that were affordable to lower-income Muslim and Jewish families.
The relatively simple medical procedure currently cost up to €4,000, Aodi said, compared to as little as €20 on the black market.
Doctors may recommend an unusually tight foreskin, known as phimosis, be removed or if a male has recurrent infections, called balanitis.
There is also some evidence that circumcised men have a lower risk of contracting HIV from infected female partners and studies suggest it may lower the chance of catching genital warts.
The main risks of the surgery are bleeding and infection. Circumcision is legal in Europe, although increasingly controversial.
A Germany court passed a regional ban in 2012 after the circumcision of a four-year-old Muslim led to complications. The judge said it “permanently and irreparably changed” the genitals.
Berlin then clarified that circumcision was legal provided it was performed by a professional.
A UK court ruled in 2016 that a Muslim father could not have his sons circumcised after their mother disagreed.
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