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Uploaded on Feb 2, 2009
Without his permission, part of his penis was cut off and he died.
Deaths occur secondary to loss of blood or systemic infection from the circumcision wound. A few deaths are reported in the medical literature. Other medical literature discusses the frequency of those deaths. A few deaths are reported in the popular press.
There is reason to believe that many deaths from circumcision are attributed to other causes. For example, if a baby were to die of meningitis that was contracted through the circumcision wound, the death may be attributed to meningitis while ignoring the fact that the baby would not have had meningitis if he had not been circumcised.
Doctors are highly motivated to conceal the true cause of circumcision death. Neonatal circumcision has no medical indication and is now considered to be an unnecessary non-therapeutic operation. It is unethical to carry out such operations on minors who cannot consent for themselves. Consequently, most doctors who have a baby die after a circumcision would prefer to attribute the results of his unethical operation to secondary causes, such as infection or bleeding, while ignoring the primary cause, which is the circumcision that resulted in the infection or bleeding. It is, therefore, very hard to identify the total number of deaths that occur from circumcision. One senses that one is seeing only the "tip of the iceberg," with the vast majority of deaths from circumcision being concealed. The deaths undoubtedly cause an increase in infant mortality. Male infant mortality is higher than female infant mortality. It is not known how much of this increased mortality is due to the practice of male circumcision.
Several doctors have given estimates of the number of deaths that occur each year. Douglas Gairdner reported 16-19 actual deaths a year in England and Wales from neonatal circumcisions in the 1940s. Sydney Gellis believed that "there are more deaths from complications of circumcision than from cancer of the penis. There are various figures for the number of deaths from penile cancer ranging from 200 to 480 deaths per year. Robert Baker estimated 229 deaths per year from circumcision in the United States.