A Manchester midwife has gone on trial for the ‘manslaughter by gross negligence’ of a four-week-old boy who bled to death after she performed a ‘backstreet circumcision’ in his home.
The case reminds us that doing nothing about the issue of unnecessary male circumcision in the UK is no longer an option.
It is alleged that Mrs Grace Adeleye carried out the procedure with no anaesthetic or local pain relief and left a "ragged" wound which caused the baby to bleed to death in April 2010.
Unlike girls in the UK, boys have no legal protection against adults who want to perform medically unnecessary surgery on their genitals without anaesthetic in backstreet settings such as homes, restaurants and community centres.
The midwife in this case is not charged with performing the act, but performing the act in a negligent way
In an similar case earlier this year, a baby boy bled to death after Rabbi Mordehai Cohen, who performed a ‘backstreet circumcision’ at a home in Queens Park, London, advised his concerned mother to stem the bleeding from the wound with Vaseline (petroleum jelly), but he was not considered to have been negligent.
In a case in Bristol, a baby boy's skull was fractured during a ritual circumcision performed on a kitchen table but no-one was ever held to account for the injury.
Mrs Adeleye denies manslaughter by gross negligence.
The court heard the medic and Goodluck's parents are originally from Nigeria, where the circumcision of newborns is the tradition for Christian families.
Mrs Adeleye, of Sarnia Court, Salford, was paid £100 to do the operation as Goodluck's parents did not know the procedure was available on the NHS.
It is alleged the defendant, who is also a midwife, left a "ragged" wound that bled and her post-operative care was inadequate.
The family home, where the procedure took place, is a mile and a half from Royal Oldham Hospital.
Adrian Darbishire QC, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury: "The allegation essentially here is that the care she provided in the course of that procedure was so bad that not only did it cause the death of that young baby wholly unnecessarily, but it amounted to gross negligence and a crime."
The court heard that up to three children a month are admitted to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital because of bleeding after home-based circumcisions - a danger the nurse should have been aware of.
Mrs Adeleye went to Goodluck's home on 16 April 2010, telling his mother to fetch some olive oil and a bowl of warm water and stripping the baby to his vest, the jury was told.
She carried out the procedure with no anaesthetic or local pain relief before cleaning the wound with cotton wool and applied a bandage, the court heard.
Between 30 and 40 minutes after surgery, Mrs Adeleye left without making any proper checks on the patient, Mr Darbishire said.
Later, the parents found the bandage had come off the wound, which dripped with blood and there was blood in Goodluck's nappy.
Mr Darbishire said even a small amount of blood loss is dangerous and the loss of just one sixth of a pint of blood can be fatal for a newborn.
A post-mortem examination revealed Goodluck's death was caused by a loss of blood.
The trial continues.