May 6, 2011
A routine circumcision procedure on a toddler at a New York City hospital has left the child dead and the family wondering what happened.
The parents of Jamaal Coleson Jr., of Brooklyn, NY, took the 2-year-old boy to Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan for a circumcision on Tuesday, ABC News reports. After the procedure, Jamaal awoke in the outpatient ward, ate, drank and then a few hours later he indicated he felt bad. Jamaal’s health deteriorated and staff took him to the emergency room. At 8:35pm Tuesday night, ten hours after the circumcision, doctors declared Jamaal dead.
“We extend heartfelt condolences to the family of the young patient in question,” Beth Israel Medical Center said in a statement. “This is a devastating event for his family as well as for the staff at Beth Israel who tried to save his life.”
A circumcision procedure entails the removal of the foreskin of the penis. It is an elective procedure carrying certain risks. Parents may choose circumcision of their male child for perceived health benefits or religious and cultural ideals. However, circumcision is controversial and there is a growing movement to discontinue it, calling it genital mutilation.
“Based on a review of medical and psychological literature and our own research and experience, we conclude that male circumcision causes serious, generally unrecognized harm and is not advisable,” says the Circumcision Resource Center. “Circumcision is a social and psychological problem that is disguised as a medical issue.”
Jamaal’s uncle, Jabbar Coleson of GA, told MSNBC that the child was to have a local anesthetic but that the hospital have him general anesthesia instead.
In newborn infants, circumcision usually involves a local anesthesia, an injection or topical agent given at the site of the surgical procedure. However, on older children and adults a surgeon usually uses a general anesthesia given intravenously or through the respiratory system and alters the patient’s consciousness.
“I want to know what happened,” Jabbar Coleson told the New York Post. “He was so sweet and energetic and so happy, a very happy child.”
Beth Israel Medical Center has reported Jamaal’s case as an “unexpected death” to the New York City Department of Health.
According to ABC News, New York’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner is investigating, but will not release the results for two weeks.
Medical malpractice attorney Laurence Banville, from Banville Law stated: “in this situation, it will be important to investigate whether the administration of a general anesthesia instead of a local anesthesia would be a generally approved practice by other anesthesiologists”.