Five-month-old baby dies in Italy after botched home circumcision

Josephine McKenna
It is the second time in three months that a baby has died from a botched home circumcision in Italy - PA

Italian prosecutors have launched an investigation into the death of a five-month old baby boy believed to have died from a botched home circumcision in the northern region of Reggio Emilia late on Friday.

The baby, who has not been named, was born to parents of Ghanaian origin in the town of Scandiano near Modena. The child is reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest following the circumcision at the family home and was flown by helicopter to the Sant’Orsola Hospital in Bologna.

He died at the hospital overnight on Friday and police and prosecutors immediately opened a manslaughter investigation. An autopsy is to be conducted to determine the cause of death.

It is the second time in three months that a baby has died from a botched home circumcision in Italy.

“It is a very serious incident and I hope those responsible will pay for this severely under the law,” Alessio Mammi, the mayor of Scandiano, told the Telegraph.

“All the community has come together for this baby who lost his life through such a serious act, we are gathered in prayer.

“It is worrying that there are still individuals who practice these rituals of such a very ancient character to risk the lives of such small children.”

Last December a two-year-old toddler of Nigerian origin died and his twin brother narrowly survived when a home circumcision went horribly wrong at an apartment attached to a migrant centre in the town of Monterondo, outside Rome.

Another baby died in Turin in 2016 and other victims have also been reported in Treviso and Bari.

Foad Aodi, president of the foreign doctors association (AMSI), is fighting for greater regulation of circumcisions and asking the health ministry to provide parents access to medical services for circumcisions at affordable prices in a bid to prevent more deaths.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 children are understood to be circumcised in Italy for cultural or religious reasons every year and up to one third of the operations are conducted in secret.