A 66 year-old Nigerian nurse, Grace Adeleye, is currently on trial for the death of a four-week-old baby boy who bled to death after a home circumcision. Goodluck Caubergs was only 27 days old when he died after bleeding to death several hours after Adeleye carried out the circumcission. Goodluck was born on March 22, 2010, in Rochdale and died on April 17, 2010. His parents, also from Nigeria, were introduced to Adeleye by a friend as she had performed many circumcisions over the years and offered her ‘experience and skill’.
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Around 5pm on April 16, Goodluck’s father, Olajunti Fatunla, 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 procedure.
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 defendant left the house between 30 and 40 minutes after surgery and the £100 had been handed over, without any proper checks on the patient after the procedure, it is alleged.
Later the parents found the bandage had come off the wound, which dripped with blood and there was blood in the child’s nappy.
The report further stated that he continued bleeding and when the parents called Adeleye two and a half hours later, she told them the bleeding was normal and ‘not a problem’ and advised a change of nappy and bandage and to apply olive oil. However, the following morning it was clear something was wrong and at 7.20am an ambulance was called. A post-mortem examination found Goodluck died from blood loss after the procedure.
Adrian Darbishire, prosecutor of the case said circumcisions were routinely carried out among Christian families in Nigeria who brought the tradition with them to the UK, and the procedure was an ‘ancient, well established and widespread’ practice across the world.
Speaking about the parent’s actions after the procedure, Darbishire told the jury “To delay and reassure was simply not appropriate. His parents remained concerned but they had been reassured by the defendant.”
“I have no doubt there will be much criticism of the parents by their inaction. But 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.“
He concluded by saying “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.”