Written By OLUSEYE AJAYI on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | 9:30 AM
four-week-old Nigerian baby boy, Goodluck Caubergs, bled to death after
a poorly-handled home circumcision by a Nigerian nurse, a court heard
The baby died a day after the nurse, Grace Adeleye,
66, carried out the procedure without anaesthetic and using only a pair
of scissors, forceps and olive oil, the Manchester Crown Court, in the
United Kingdom, heard.
The medic, a Nigerian, like the parents of
the baby, was apparently introduced to the parents of the baby because
of the Nigerian ties binding them, especially as Adeleye was said to
have performed such operations with so much “experience and skill”,
several times in the past, also among Nigerian families.
also a midwife, was paid £100 (about N25,400) to do the operation, as
Goodluck’s parents were not aware the procedure was available at the NHS
(National Health Service).
The Royal Oldham Hospital was just a
mile and a half from the family home in Chadderton, near Oldham, where
the little baby could have been better circumcised and his life saved.
Adeleye of Sarnia Court, Salford, Greater Manchester, however, denied
manslaughter by gross negligence of the baby boy. But the prosecution
argued that she botched the procedure by leaving a “ragged” wound that
bled, and her post-op care was also woefully inadequate.
Darbishire (QC), who opened the case for the prosecution, told the jury:
“The allegation essentially here is that the care she provided in the
course of that procedure was so bad that not only did it cause the death
of that young baby wholly unnecessarily, but it amounted to gross
negligence and a crime.”
Darbishire said circumcisions were
routinely carried out amongst Christian families in Nigeria who had
brought the tradition with them to the UK, and the procedure was an
“ancient, well established and widespread” practice across the world.
But the court heard that up to three children a month are admitted to
the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital due to bleeding after
home-based circumcisions — a danger the nurse should have been aware of.
Goodluck was born on March 22, 2010, in Rochdale and died on April 17, the day after the circumcision, aged 27 days old.
Around 5 pm on April 16, 2010, Goodluck’s father, Olajunti Fatunla, was
said to have brought Adeleye by car to the family home — and the nurse
sent him immediately to get some Calpol while she and the mother, Sylvia
Attiko, got on with the operation.
Once inside, Adeleye told the
boy’s mother to fetch some olive oil and a bowl of warm water and the
child was stripped to just his vest. Adeleye then brought her
‘instruments’ out of her handbag and dipped a pair of scissors into the
water in a kidney dish. “At that point Sylvia closed her eyes,”
“Goodluck had had no anaesthetic or local pain
relief at this point and that is not how this should be done. “By the
time Sylvia opened her eyes the operation was over.
“She could see the foreskin between the blades of the scissors.”
Adeleye then cleaned the wound with cotton wool and applied a bandage.
The boy was “crying throughout” and the wound was bleeding, but Adeleye told the mother this was normal, the court heard.
The defendant left the house between 30 and 40 minutes after the
surgery and the £100 had been handed over, without any proper checks on
the patient after the procedure, it was alleged.
Later, the parents found the bandage had come off the wound, which dripped with blood and there was blood in the nappy.
Darbishire said even a small amount of blood loss is dangerous and the
loss of just one sixth of a pint of blood can be fatal for a newborn.
The concerned parents, who had no medical training, called the defendant
around two-and-a-half hours later.
Adeleye told them the bleeding
was normal and “not a problem” and advised a change of nappy and bandage
and to apply olive oil. In fact Adeleye should have advised immediate
“To delay and reassure was simply not appropriate,” the prosecutor told the jury.
“His parents remained concerned but they had been reassured by the defendant,” Darbishire narrated.
However, the following morning it was clear something was wrong and at
7.20 am an ambulance was called. Darbishire added: “I have no doubt
there will be much criticism of the parents by their inaction.
can I invite you to consider this. One of the hardest things as a
parent, especially parents of a young child, is knowing when to be
worried and how worried to be.
“But on the other hand no one wants to make a fuss about nothing.”
A post-mortem examination found that Goodluck died from blood loss
after the circumcision. Darbishire said: “His death was wholly
unnecessary. He bled to death over a period of many hours when medical
assistance, which could have saved his life, was minutes away.”
The trial, scheduled to last two weeks, was adjourned to today.
So what went wrong for a nurse and midwife, who probably had practised
the profession for about two decades? Could Adeleye with her “experience
and skill” not have known what exactly she needed for such an
operation? Had there been any previous failed and fatal circumcisions by
her? Was it a mere error or professional negligence? All of these
questions will be addressed or answered as the court continues with the
Whatever it is, it is doubtful that the British justice system will take kindly to the needless death caused by her action.