An at-home circumcision attempt in Italy led to the death of a baby due to possible hemorrhage, local officials said.
Authorities in Rome arrested two women, reportedly of Nigerian origin, in connection with the child’s death on Friday last week.
The 20-day-old infant’s mother found a police patrol and asked for help. The officers rushed the mother and infant to a hospital, but doctors declared the child dead on arrival.
Both women face charges of aggravated manslaughter and illegal exercise of a profession, Il Globo reported. The child’s mother also faces an investigation on suspicion of conspiracy to commit manslaughter.
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Authorities did not say whether the death resulted from hemorrhage, but they did not rule it out as the eventual cause of death, according to Italian publication L’Unione Sarda.
Similar cases have occurred over the last few years, most famously in 2019 with a 5-month-old whose parents, of Ghanaian origin, tried to circumcise him at home.
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The boy suffered a cardiac arrest and ended up at a Bologna hospital where he died, the BBC reported.
Another infant, only 5 months old as well, died in the port city of Genoa after his mother and grandmother, of Nigerian origin, called for emergency medical help after attempting a circumcision at home.
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The circumcisions largely occur among Italy’s Muslim immigrant community. Of the 5,000 circumcisions performed in Italy every year, around 35% occur "clandestinely," according to Il Globo.
The Associated Press attributed the high prevalence of incidents to the fact that circumcision is not a common practice in the predominantly Catholic country, and many doctors refuse to circumcise boys under the age of 4.
The refusal, as well as the high cost, pushes many immigrant parents to attempt home remedies as they seek the procedure for medical reasons.
Foad Aodi, the founder of the association of foreign doctors in Italy, in 2019 appealed to health authorities to allow circumcisions at affordable prices and to lower the age of access to help fight clandestine attempts at circumcisions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.