One of the risks of circumcision in either sex, at any age, is death. It is difficult to obtain accurate estimates of the deaths caused by circumcision because hospitals are not required to release this data, doctors often purposefully attribute the death to a secondary cause, such as "hemorrhaging," or "septic shock," and oftentimes, parents who are complicit agree to keep silent about the surrounding of their child's death.
Holt (1913) reported deaths of boys from tuberculosis transmitted by tubercular mohelim. during ritual non-therapeutic circumcision. Today tuberculosis is no longer the problem it was in 1913, but now, evidence that shows mohels are spreading the herpes virus to children via the practice of metzitzah b'peh, or direct oral suction of the wounded child's penis, has been mounting recently, but parents who are asked about details surrounding their children's deaths, who performed their child's circumcisions, whether or not metzitzah b'peh was performed, etc., are often not forthcoming to protect the reputation of the ritual circumcisers in their community.
Parents of children who were circumcised in the secular setting of the hospital may also agree to repeat whatever their doctor told them to protect both the reputation of the doctor involved, and to keep their conscience free of the fact that they gave their consent to the procedure.
Circumcision caused death is usually hushed-up and attributed to some other cause, however a few cases have been reported in the medical literature. The few cases reported are only the visible tip of the iceberg. Most cases are not reported.
- Hiss, J / A Horowitz / T Kahana (March 2000): Fatal haemorrhage following male ritual circumcision, in: J Clin Forensic Med. 7 (1): 32-4, PMID, DOI. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
- Newell, Chico (19 January 2004).
Judgement of Inquiry into the Death of Ryleigh Roman Bryan McWillis, Circumstitions, Office of the Chief Coroner of British Columbia. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
- Coroner, Chief (April 2007): Circumcision: a minor procedure?, in: Paediatr Child Health. 12 (4): 311-2, PMID, PMC. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
Estimations of death due to male infant circumcision
Gellis (1978) estimated that there are more deaths each year from non-therapeutic circumcision of children than from cancer of the penis. Baker (1979) estimated 229 deaths per year in the United States caused by non-therapeutic male infant circumcision.
A study in 2010 estimated approximately 117 neonatal circumcision-related deaths occur annually in the United States, about one out of every 77 male neonatal deaths, more than suffocation, auto accidents, or even SIDS.
- (16 August 2013). Circumcision Deaths
Circumcision Deaths, CIRP, Circumcision Reference Library.
Circumcision Deaths in USA, circinfo.org. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
- Holt, LE (12 July 1913): Tuberculosis acquired through ritual circumcision, in: JAMA. LXI: 99-102. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- James, Susan (9 March 2012)."Baby Dies of Herpes in Ritual Circumcision By Orthodox Jews", abcnewsgo.com, ABC News. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- Gellis, Sidney S. (December 1978): Circumcision, in: Am J Dis Child. 132: 1168, PMID, DOI. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- Baker, Robert Leon (November 1979): Newborn male circumcision: needless and dangerous, in: Sexual Medicine Today. 3 (11): 135-6. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- Bollinger, Dan / Boy's Health Advisory (26 April 2010): Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths, in: Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies. 4 (1): 78-90, DOI. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
- ICGI (26 April 2010).
Infant circumcision causes 100 deaths each year in US, International Coalition for Genital Integrity. Retrieved 2 February 2020.