Nurse guilty of manslaughter of baby who bled to death after botched home circumcision
Friday 14 December 2012
A nurse has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a four-week-old baby who bled to death after a botched home circumcision.
Goodluck Caubergs died the day after Grace Adeleye carried out the procedure without anaesthetic and using only a pair of scissors, forceps and olive oil, a trial at Manchester Crown Court heard.
The 67-year-old is originally from Nigeria, as are the youngster's parents, where the circumcision of newborns is a tradition for Christian families, the jury heard.
Adeleye, who is also a midwife, was paid £100 for the operation as Goodluck's parents were not aware the procedure was available on the NHS.
The Royal Oldham Hospital was just a mile and a half from the family home in Chadderton, near Oldham, but by the time an ambulance was called the infant could not be saved, the court heard.
Today a jury of eight women and four men found Adeleye guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence by a majority verdict of 10 to 2 after deliberating for eight hours and 20 minutes.
Sentencing was adjourned to a date to be fixed for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.
Adeleye, of Sarnia Court, Salford, Greater Manchester, was granted bail with conditions.
The trial heard that the nurse botched the procedure by leaving a "ragged" wound which bled, and her post-operative care was also woefully inadequate.
Adrian Darbishire QC, opening 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."
Adeleye told the court she had carried out "more than a thousand" such procedures without a single problem.
Goodluck was born in Rochdale Infirmary on March 22 2010 and died at 27 days old on April 17, the day after the circumcision.
Adeleye said that, after praying before the operation, as is her custom, she used the traditional Nigerian "clamp and cut" method, which she had used hundreds of times, without any painkillers for the child.
And she told the jury that, when she left the boy with his parents, Sylvia Attiko and Olajunti Fatunla, there were no problems but warned them to monitor closely any bleeding from the wound.
Adeleye, a mother-of-six. told the jury she had performed circumcisions on her two grandsons and carried out more than a thousand such operations in Nigeria.
She said it was custom to have a naming ceremony for the child on the eighth day after birth and she would travel from church to church performing the operation.
Since coming to the UK in 2004, she had performed a further 20 home circumcisions.
None had required hospital treatment or suffered excessive bleeding.
Adeleye said she performed the same circumcision technique on Goodluck as the others.
"It's the cultural one in Nigeria. It's clamp and cut," she said.
Earlier, Peter Wright QC, defending asked her: "Is there anaesthetic administered to the child before the procedure?"
"We don't usually, no," she replied.
"The culture, why we don't need anaesthetic, that's why we do it early in life. We believe if it's done early the pain is not as well as in an older child."
The prosecution said Adeleye also failed in her duty of care to the child because the boy's parents knew nothing about the procedure or medical matters.
Adeleye claimed she did not want to use "big medical words" so spoke to the father in their own Yoruba dialect from Nigeria - and stressed that the baby must be monitored for bleeding from the wound.
She said she questioned the parents about the health of mother and baby, sterilised the instruments she used and cleaned the boy's groin with TCP before the operation began.
She used artery forceps to clamp the excess skin for one minute and then used surgical scissors to "trim" the foreskin, which only took a "few seconds", before gauze, Vaseline and bandages were applied.
The skin was given to the boy's father, because Nigerian custom has it that if it is discarded carelessly the boy will grow into a "promiscuous" man, the jury was told.
Jane Wragg, of the CPS, said: "Goodluck Caubergs was a healthy little boy whose tragic death was wholly unnecessary.
"This case was not about the rights or wrongs of circumcision, but the grossly negligent way in which the procedure was undertaken.
"Circumcision is a medical procedure which, like any other, carries very real risks to the patient that must be properly managed. This was not done in this case.
"Goodluck died because the standard of care taken by Grace Adeleye in carrying out the circumcision fell far below the standard that should be applied. She also failed to inform his parents of the risks and possible complications, which ultimately led to his tragic death."
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