Steve Robson, Daily Mail (London), February 9, 2013
A midwife who caused a four-week-old baby to bleed to death in a botched home circumcision operation walked free from court yesterday.
Grace Adeleye, 67, carried out the procedure on Goodluck Caubergs without anaesthetic, using only a pair of scissors, forceps and olive oil.
The nurse, originally from Nigeria, had been paid £100 to perform the operation at the home in Chadderton, Greater Manchester, using a traditional African method known as ‘clamp and cut’.
But it went drastically wrong leaving the child with a serious wound and causing him to bleed to death despite the efforts of doctors at Royal Oldham hospital to save him.
Adeleye was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence after a trial at Manchester Crown Court and was given a 21 month suspended jail term yesterday.
Justice Keith Lindblom said the boy’s death had been ‘wholly unneccesary’.
‘It was a tragedy, he was a perfectly healthy baby, he was not ill he had no need of medical care and he would not have died if you had acted with their care expected of you as a nurse,’ he said.
‘No sentence would bring him back or ease the grief his family must ensure, the pain of losing him will stay with them what the rest of their lives.
‘His mother said it was a tragic accident but says she can’t find it in herself to wish you any ill feeling or that you be sent to prison. I accept that you showed genuine remorse for his death.’
The court heard how Adeleye had set herself up as a mobile circumcision ‘clinic’ for Christian parents – many who had no idea the simple procedure is available on the NHS.
She had previously carried out 1,000 similar procedures in Nigeria and in the UK earned £100 a time for her legal ‘home ops’ during which she would say traditional prayers.
It emerged during the trial that up to three children a month are admitted to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital due to bleeding after home-based circumcisions.
The case has led for calls for mobile circumcision clinics to be made illegal.
Police investigated after it emerged Adeleye ignored risks involved in the operation and experts said her standard of care was ‘woefully inadequate’.
The tragedy occurred shortly after Goodluck was born in March 2010 and the family moved to Chadderton, near Oldham.
Adeleye carried out the operation after being introduced to the family through a friend as she had performed many circumcisions over the years and offered her ‘experience and skill’.
When she arrived at the family home at 5pm on April 16 2010, Goodluck was sleeping in his cot in the living room but was transferred onto a low table in the living room.
Adeleye brought her ‘instruments’ out of her handbag and dipped a pair of scissors into the water in a kidney dish – then carried out the procedure without any pain relief for Goodluck while his mother Sylvia Attiko closed her eyes.
Adeleye then cleaned the wound with cotton wool and applied a bandage but it was still bleeding when she left 40 minutes later.
Goodluck’s parents, who had no medical training, called Adeleye later when the bleeding continued but was told it was ‘normal’ and ‘not a problem’.
When the bleeding still hadn’t stopped the following morning, the baby was rushed to Royal Oldham Hospital just a mile from the family’s home where he died. Post-mortem tests found Goodluck died from blood loss.
Mrs Attiko burst into tears as she relived the operation and told the jury: ‘She said I could close my eyes if I could not bear to look but Goodluck was upset. He was crying.’
‘I was feeling the pain he was going through. She just said it was a normal thing he would calm down. She said I should breastfeed him to calm him down.’
Adeleye, of Sarnia Court, Salford, denied wrongdoing. The mother-of-six said she had had no such problems before and had performed circumcisions on her two grandsons.
In mitigation defence counsel Mr Peter Wright QC said Adeleye had not performed any similar operations since the tragedy and had retired from nursing.
He added: ‘Home circumcisions are not illegal or unlawfully criminal and on this particular and isolated occasion has been characterised as circumstances of the most tragic sort.
‘The harm here is plainly of the highest but it appears to be a wholly isolated incident. There is an inability upon her to comprehend how a procedure undertook so many times that went so badly wrong.’
Most circumcisions in the UK are done for religious reasons but currently no formal qualifications are required to perform the operation.