Bleeding and haemorrhage are ever-present risks of every surgery.
It is not traditional to test baby boys for their blood clotting ability prior to the amputation of the foreskin. In ancient times, another measure was taken to "protect" e.g. Jewish infants who did not have blood clotting abilities: The fact that circumcision on Jewish infants regularly led to deaths is shown by the fact that the Talmud of Babylon, Yebamoth 64b, provides for when the first two (or three) sons have died after circumcision, subsequent sons no longer need to be circumcised.
The vast majority of circumcisions performed in the United States are medically-unnecessary, non-therapeutic circumcisions performed on newborn infants in which there is no medical indication or disease of any kind present. Such circumcisions expose the infant boy to all surgical risks without any compensating health benefit.
Newborn infants, which weigh only a few pounds, have very little blood in their tiny bodies. Loss of only a slight amount of blood can and does cause exsangination and hypovolemic shock. Losing over 2.4 ounces of blood may cause death.
"[S]ome of the serious complications that can occur during the procedure include death from excess bleeding and amputation of the glans penis. Postoperative complications include the formation of skin bridges between the shaft and the glans, infection, urinary retention (this has caused deaths), meatal ulcer, impetigo, fistulas, loss of penile sensitivity, sexual dysfunction and oedema of the glans." They also acknowledge that the frequency of complications is "underestimated because events occurring after the discharge are not captured [in the discharge sheet]" and sometimes are treated at a different hospital.
An estimated number of complications is calculated in this page.
- Newell, Chico (19 January 2004).
Judgement of Inquiry into the death of McWillis, Ryleigh Roman Bryan, Cirumstitions, Office of the Chief Coroner, Province of British Columbia. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
Death from Circumcision, Dr. Momma. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
Bleeding, Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.). Retrieved 15 January 2022.
- Krill, Aaron J., Palmer, Lane S., Palmer, Jeffrey S.. Complications of circumcision. ScientificWorldJournal. 26 December 2011; 11: 2458-68. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
- Hiss J, Horowitz A, Kahama T. Fatal haemorrhage following male ritual circumcision. J Clin Forensic Med. 2000; 7: 32-4. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
Hypovolemic shock, The Free Dictionary, Farlex. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
- Weiss, Helen (2010).
Neonatal and child male circumcision: a global review, UNAIDS. Retrieved 23 November 2012.