Monday, March 5, 2012
A two-week old boy died at a Brooklyn hospital after contracting herpes through a Jewish religious circumcision ritual that ignited controversy in 2005 after another infant died
The infant died at Maimonides Hospital, according to a spokeswoman for the city Medical Examiner. The cause of death was listed as disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction. In 2004, city health officials revealed that a baby boy died after a circumcision carried out by a Rockland County rabbi who specializes in the centuries-old, ultra-Orthodox Jewish ritual known as metzizah b’ peh. Under the practice, the rabbi or mohel removes blood from the wound with his mouth — a practice city health officials have criticized, saying it carried inherent risks for babies. In 2004, three infants circumcised by Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer were determined to have contracted herpes, city officials said. Among them were twins circumcised in October 2004 after Fischer performed the Jewish religious ceremony known as a bris.