Don't Retract Pack

Newborn Baby Survives Heart Failure Following Circumcision

Almost one year to the day that sweet Baby Joshua, who had been struggling with a congenital heart defect, lost his life to post-circumcision blood loss and heart failure, another little one clings to life in a horrifyingly similar experience.

In the United States today, more baby boys die each year from circumcision than from choking, from auto accidents, from suffocation, from SIDS, from (recalled) sleep positioners and from (the newly banned) drop-side cribs. The risk of complications, including death, are monumentally heightened for premature babies, or those born with pre-existing health conditions, including heart defects. 

No medical or health organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision - including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP does, however, state that: 

  • Babies should never be circumcised without full pain relief (anesthesia just as we'd give an adult undergoing genital cutting, reduction or amputation surgery).
  • Anesthesia is counter-indicated for infants and not recommended for newborn babies (any drugs in a baby's body increases risks to health and wellbeing). 
  • No baby already facing pre-existing medical concerns or health compromises of any nature should be circumcised. (Genital cutting is risky for even healthy babies - and carries with it detrimental consequences - the foremost of which is the loss of a healthy, vital, functioning organ: the prepuce. Circumcision is exponentially riskier for premature or health-compromised infants). 
AAP statement posted on their Facebook Page

What follows is one authors' write-up of Baby Chance's story for the Herald Citizen, a Cooksville, TN newspaper in the same city Chance was born. Chance was luckier than Joshua was - both were forced into similar genital cutting stress and complications on their already fragile hearts, but Chance had a physician nearby who administered a prostaglandin that artificially kept his heart going until further surgical interventions could take place. 

Just 9 days old, Chance endured his first open heart surgery.

Following by Amye Wright 
Posted with permission from the Herald Citizen

One-year-old Chance Bond's bright, curious eyes and smile light up a room and give no indication that he struggles with a very serious health condition.

Amanda Bond had just had a tubal ligation reversal three weeks before she found out that she was expecting her third child. "I wasn't supposed to (get pregnant) until six weeks (after)," Bond said. The pregnancy was "bad" from the beginning, she says. She'd had at least 20 ultrasounds during the pregnancy. "We had no clue that he had something going on with him," she said. According to Bond, the chances of reaching a full-term pregnancy with the baby were slim.

However, at 38 weeks, Chance was born at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. He was a typical, healthy baby. Everything was fine until he had a circumcision the following day.

"About 15 minutes after they circumcised him, he crashed," Bond said. "Luckily, we had someone here that knew what was going on and saved his life."

That someone was Dr. Apryl Hall, Pediatrics-Hospitalist, and the staff of the unit. Dr. Hall administered a prostaglandin which kept a key valve open in Chance's heart, in order to save his life. "They saved his life," Bond said. "To be on it that quick is a big deal." According to Bond, Chance's condition -- hypoplastic left heart syndrome -- should have been picked up on one of the many ultrasounds but wasn't.

Typically, this condition occurs when parts of the left side of the heart -- mitral valve, left ventricle, aortic valve, and aorta -- do not develop completely resulting parts of the heart being undetected with an ultrasound. "Because he had four chambers, they didn't pick it up," she said. "But he didn't have four chambers that were going to work correctly."

The left side of his heart wasn't large enough to function on it's own requiring, to date, two open heart surgeries and a regimen of medications to make his heart pump stronger keep his blood pressure and heart rate in check. Oxygen saturations in a typical heart are anywhere from 95-100 percent. In his case, it's 75-85 percent.

There will be a third surgery, typically, between the age of 18-24 months of age. Through Chance's ordeal, Bond is hoping to create awareness for his condition and educate people about the seriousness of congenital heart defects. "One out of 100 babies are going to have something wrong with their heart," Bond said. "Whether it's minor, or severe like his."

So, Bond created Chances for Scarred Little Hearts in an effort to bring awareness to congenital heart defects and provide information to people about the seriousness of this condition. The group is currently working on receiving its non-profit certification and recently held a blood drive and achieved 100% of their goal for the organization.

According to Bond, laws that will require pulse oximetry screening of all newborns have passed the Tennessee Senate. There have been no recent updates on the Tennessee General Assembly website regarding activity for the same bill from the House. Bond says that a similar bill is being reviewed on a federal level to mandate all states require "pulse ox" screenings on all newborns.

"Pulse ox" screenings are a simple, non-invasive procedure used to measure how much oxygen is in the blood and has been found effective in screening for congenital heart defects in newborns. It uses a light source and sensor to measure oxygen in the blood. Hall says that pulse ox screenings as well as several blood pressure checks are performed at CRMC on all newborns at least 24 hours old. "So, we go, like, another step further," Hall said. She suggests that expectant mothers take prenatal care seriously and know what warning signs and symptoms to look for:

  • continuous blue-tinted skin, lips or nail beds
  • sweating or paleness while feeding
  • difficulty breathing, including fast breathing
There is the potential that Chance will have more surgeries as he gets older. "You don't know what the future's going to hold," Bond said.


Additional information on newborn circumcision-related complications in the United States:

Bollinger, Dan. Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths. Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies. 2010;4(1):78-90.

Baker RL. Newborn male circumcision: needless and dangerous. Sexual Medicine Today. 1979;3(11):35-36.

Death From Circumcision

Circumcision Information Resource Pages - Death

Circumstitions - Complications

NOHARMM - Complicaitons Incidence

Baby Dies After Circumcision Surgery Blood Loss and Heart Failure


  1. Poor sweet little babes, when will people learn?

  2. That angers me and saddens me right to my core.

    Why can't people just birth their babies and LEAVE THEIR GENITALS ALONE! It is their body, their penis, and it should be their choice whether or not to have part of their normal, functioning penis cut off!

    Stop with the nonsense reasons! It is not cleaner, and who cares if it won't look like dad's, it will look the way it's supposed to. The way a normal penis looks!

    And, it is not a "simple", "minor" procedure! The baby DOES feel it, and will be in horrific pain. It is barbaric and just plain ridiculous.

  3. This makes me SO sad. I was just writing to a friend who is trying to make this decision and I shared about Joshua's story--that was the story that turned me from "it's a parental decision" to "it should be illegal"...

  4. It takes 5 minutes to screen the heart after birth. The AAP added hepb to the schedule YEARS ago but only last year began talking about adding a 5 minute screen to the neonatal procedures. And I haven't heard anything about it since last year.

  5. Notice how they just glossed over how the circumcision was to blame?

  6. exactly Alison. they are making people aware of this heart defect.... how about making people aware that circumcision is wrong?

  7. i know this was about circumcision, but it said they didnt know anything was wrong despite the 20 ultrasounds???? TWENTY? did they perhaps cause the defect?

  8. Doula, that's exactly what i thought... poor child was microwaved in that womb :/

  9. And when babies with heart defects die during circumcision they die because of their heart defect...not the circumcision. How misleading. :( I'm sure they would have eventually caught the defect with normal check ups. I mean...did they have to traumatize him to do it?

  10. They will blame the fact that HLHS babies typically start to struggle within a few hours of birth as the feral heart circulation shuts down. The prostaglandin that the doctor gave keeps the valve open buying more time.

    Of course it's a coincidence that this happened just after the circ. the hospital will never admit it.

  11. That reads to me as though they're almost thanking the MGM for helping them find out about his heart condition...

  12. The fact that we hear so much about SIDS - and approximately 115 newborn boys die each year from SIDS - yet rarely hear of circumcision related deaths which are responsible for 120-220 (and likely more that were not registered as such) each year is unbelievable. When will we get our priorities straightened out? In addition, there are risk factors for SIDS that we can implement...and when it does happen, it is utterly tragic. But with death from circumcision - it is ALWAYS preventable and never necessary.

  13. I have had more and more friends confessing that their children or nephews almost died during circumcision. The fact that it continues makes me sick, but these people need to be speaking out to alert others to the dangers.

  14. SO sad :( my friend just called me to tell me that she had a customer come through her line to buy flowers for their baby that passed, she asked from what (if they didn't mind sharing) and they told her circumcision complications :(

    SO sad, and it HAPPENS people. why is this still happening to our little boys??? my friend isn't anywhere near having kids, not even in a relationship, but she swore up and down she would circumcise her boy if she ever has one despite everything i've shared with her.. now, she said she won't. i'm OVERJOYED she won't, but i'm sadded that it took this for her to change her mind :/

  15. ¿When will people learn? When doctors followed the lead of Kellogg, they knew that he was a quack, but they saw sexual genital mutilation as just another billable procedure. Interestingly, its timing of coming at the dawn of evidence-based medicine lead to its wide adoption, even thought it is nothing more than a violent mutilation:

    In the late 19th century, medicine started down the road to evidence-based medicine. If it would have become popular a few decades earlier, it would have been rejected like bloodletting. If someone would have started pushing it in the early 20th century, it would face fierce resistance for not being evidence-based. By becoming popular at the switchover, it seemed to the public that sexual genital mutilation was an evidence-based procedure replacing nonevidence-based procedures e. g. medical branding, when, in fact, the doctors adopting it knew that Kellogg was a quack, but just wanted another billable procedure. Very few nonevidence-based procedures still exist in medicine. Sexual genital mutilation outnumbers, and outdollars all other nonevidence-based procedures combined in medicine.

    Medically, routine sexual genital mutilation is unnecessary. Ethically, sexual genital mutilation is a violation of human rights. Sexually, sexual genital mutilation reduces sexual sensation and function.

  16. Before you get on a roller-coaster, there are signs saying that people with heart-problems shouldn't get on. And, if you don't meet the height requirement, you gotta wait until you're tall enough.

    I'm against circumcision unless it is medically necessary. Without any medical or clinical indication a doctor shouldn't even be performing surgery, let alone eliciting any kind of a "decision" from parents.

    This is usually standard medical practice for any surgery, not just circumcision. But even before a medically necessary surgery, you would think the doctor would make sure that the baby was fully capable of withstanding surgery BEFORE, not AFTER they screw up.

    Shows you what's on their mind; NOT the child's best interests.

    I find it interesting how the mother is actively working to bring attention to heart problems. Is it that she actually cares? Or is she in denial and actively working to draw attention away from the fact that circumcision almost killed her child?

  17. My aunt is a lactation consultant and was working with a new mother last week whose baby died the following morning after circumcision. He was perfectly healthy and did not have any heart complications that they could find. She is really shaken up over it, and had heard of it happening in other areas as well, but this is the first time she's had direct contact with a mother and baby who have experienced circumcision related death. It is so unnecessary and this mother was unsure even if she wanted to follow through with it, but they are in an area where she was pressured to do so. I just can't imagine. This is happening to even healthy babies.

  18. Just curious about the AAP post. Was it ever actually made or did they delete or change that status? Because there is absolutely nothing about that on their page.

  19. There wasn't even any acknowledgement of the harm the circumcision did to her son. What the hell is wrong with people?? Yes, great work on getting the simple and non invasive testing to be sure that babies have proper working hearts, but what about the beratement of the circumcision and the harm it did to her son and the Dr. who preformed it? Is she praising it because if her son hadn't had the circ then they would have never known?? Kudos to the Dr. who was able to recognize what was going on and knew what to do to save his life.

  20. Keri - the statement is still on their page. You just have to click the link that is included in this article under the screenshot image. There are now 176 people who have "liked" the comment. I took my own screenshot as well.

    It is here:

  21. im just so glad im from NZ, not ONCE was the word circumcision mentioned to be during my pregnancy, and not ONCE was it mentioned when i gave birth to my son, infact I dont know anyone who has got their child circumcised. I feel so sad for this bub and his mumma to have to go through this, and its hard for me to completely comprehend the circumcision issue in the US when its just so out of the ordinary here in NZ to get your baby circumcised. I'm sad you ladies get asked to circumcise, im sad you have to fight it off, im sad women get bullied in to choosing circumcision :(

  22. I am so depressed! I gave a pregnant mama that goes to my church some info about leaving her son intact a few weeks ago. She made it seem like she was going to leave him be. I just got a call with horrible horrible news from another lady from our church. He died. He had a heart attack during the procedure. I didn't even know healthy 2 day old babies could even have heart attacks. He had to be so terrified and in so much pain. :( I'm supposed to bring that family dinner on Thursday, but I don't think I can look that mom in the eye.

  23. Connor James, 7 lbs. 8 oz. 21 inches, born Friday, November 25, 2011, in Pittsburgh, died last night of blood loss from circumcision.

  24. Chelsea, that's awful. I am so sorry. I wouldn't want to look at that family either.

  25. Why can't people just birth their babies and LEAVE THEIR GENITALS ALONE! It is their body, their penis, and it should be their choice whether or not to have part of their normal, functioning penis cut off! I find it interesting how the mother is actively working to bring attention to heart problems. Is it that she actually cares?