Top doctor warned parents around circumcising child after toddler dies

Parents are warned against circumcising their children after a toddler, 2, died ‘of a reaction to anaesthetic’ and his baby brother almost bled out

  • Top doctor warned against circumcision after toddler died in Western Australia
  • Mark Duncan-Smith told parents to only consider procedure for medical reason
  • Two-year-old died after suffering allergic reaction to anaesthesia on Tuesday 

A top doctor has warned parents to carefully consider the risks of circumcising their child after a two-year-old boy died and his baby brother almost bled out. 

WA Australian Medical Association president Mark Duncan-Smith urged parents to only follow through with the procedure if there was a valid medical reason.

‘It’s a very, very good conversation to have with your trusted GP,’ he said.

‘Your GP can advise you the proper indications for circumcision, the dangers, how it’s done. And that has to be part of the evaluation of whether or not it’s appropriate for a child to have a circumcision.’

His warning comes after a two-year-old boy died after suffering an allergic reaction to anaesthesia given to him during the procedure on Tuesday.

WA Australian Medical Association president Mark Duncan-Smith urged parents to only follow through with the procedure if there was a valid medical reason

The boy was discharged from hospital following the circumcision and was at a friend’s Seville Grove home, in Perth, when he began to show signs of a reaction.

He was rushed by ambulance to Armadale Hospital before he was pronounced dead by paramedics.

His seven-month old brother was taken to Perth Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery after suffering post-surgery bleeding.

‘As with any medical procedure, proper consultation with the patient, parents and the child should be undertaken beforehand,’ Dr Duncan-Smith told The West Australian.

‘And also, clearly a history of bleeding in the family would be a red flag for for example.’

The top doctor pointed out rates of circumcision had declined in Western Australia over the last few decades.

Some 90 per cent of children were circumcised during the 1960s with rates dwindling to 10 per cent today. 

Dr Duncan-Smith said more parents were turning away from the practice as there were few medical reasons to circumcise their child.

Some 90 per cent of children were circumcised during the 1960s with rates dwindling to 10 per cent today (stock image)

Rates continue to be remain high in developing countries such as Africa where HIV and HPV are prevalent.

Dr Duncan-Smith said circumcision was mainly still practised for religious reasons by members of the Jewish and Muslim community. 

Homicide detectives were called in to investigate following the death of the toddler, but WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the situation is not being treated as suspicious.

‘There are no suspicious circumstances – this medical procedure took place at an authorised medical facility,’ he said.

‘It appears that this is a very tragic case.

‘But I’ve got no information to suggest that there’s anything untoward in terms of criminal acts or anything like that.’

Detectives worked with the family to complete a report for the coroner.

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