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2-year old implicated in infant's death

2-year old implicated in infant's death

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Published by Hirshel Tzig

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Published by: Hirshel Tzig on Jul 12, 2012
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New evidence indicates that a recent infant death the NYC Department of Health claimedwas caused by
metzitzah b’peh
(circumcision with oral suction) was most likely anaccident caused by the newborn’s 2-year old brother.In an exclusive interview given to Debbie Maimon of 
Yated Ne’eman
, the infant’smother, Mrs. K from Brooklyn (who prefers not to use her full name in the media tomaintain her privacy), recalls how her two-year-old son shared the infant’s pacifier about2 weeks before his death. The two-year–old suffered from severe recurring bouts of oralherpes, the same virus that killed the baby, and had an active cold sore when he put thebaby’s pacifier into his mouth before sticking it back into the baby’s mouth. Cold sorescontain the virus that causes oral herpes and are highly infectious.“Transmission from a family member is well established in the medical literature,”according to Dr. Daniel Berman, chief of infectious diseases at New York WestchesterSquare Medical Center. “It’s been proved with DNA fingerprinting.”Worse, Mrs. K said that hospital personnel noted the existence of a herpetic sibling in themedical records of the infant, but this was ignored by the health department and themedical examiner, who 4 months after the baby’s death cited “circumcision with oralsuction” as the source of the fatal herpes infection.Mrs. K says that health officials never considered the fact that the infant had beencontaminated by his two-year-old brother. “It was only after talking to Dr. Berman that Irealized how fatal this was. He said the most dangerous time for a newborn to be exposedto herpes is up to two months after birth. I simply never knew. I don’t think most mothershave a clue.” Without that information, Mrs. K’s future children would have beenexposed to the same danger.Instead, the NYC Health Department relies in part on that case, and the stated cause of death as
metzitzah b’peh
(mbp), as a lynchpin for outlawing mbp without written consentby parents stating that they know mbp causes death.The uproar over mbp has brought about an Orwellian situation where the likely cause of neonatal deaths from HSV-1, namely from a herpes-infected family member or caregiver,is being ignored by the very officials whose job it is to alert the public to this healthhazard.The
article alleges that instead of nailing down the real culprit in herpes infectionin newborns, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a report by the DOH thatfocused the blame solely on mbp. The report asserted that mbp poses higher risks of HSV-1, which could be fatal to newborns.
The health report was the latest salvo in the DOH campaign to eradicate
metzitzah b’peh.
 DOH head Tom Farley is as explicit about his agenda as he could be. Farley is quoted assaying he hopes to achieve the goal that mbp “never be performed.”
2So hostile is DOH to mbp that it in its rush to judgment, its report is riddled withomissions and inaccurate data, experts say.Dr. Berman said that “the report overlooks a much more obvious cause of herpesinfection in newborns - direct contact with a family member with an open and infectiousherpes cold sore.”This serious omission (among many others), and the report’s unreliable data andconclusions render it of dubious value, he said.“The data prove nothing at all,” Berman said in a lengthy phone interview with
.“There simply is no evidence at all linking ritual circumcision with herpes.”
 Dr. Berman noted that the health report cited the fact of 25 cases of newborn deaths fromherpes - where mbp was not performed - over a 5-yer period. How then did the infantscontract the infection? The medical consensus, he said, is that the infection came from themost common route - exposure to a family member or caregiver with herpes.Why should it be any different in the religious community, he asked. If mbp was not inthe picture, would there be the slightest doubt in anyone’s mind about how the herpesinfection was most likely transmitted?Dr. Berman was troubled by the fact that the report insisted on blaming mbp for the deathof a newborn whose sibling had been afflicted with herpes at the time. The authors of thereport refused to credit this documented fact as the likely source of the herpes infectionthat caused the newborn’s death.Even without offering a shred of evidence that mbp had been performed, the reporttreated it as a given. The cause of death, according to chief medical examiner CharlesHirsch, (employed by the DOH), was disseminated herpes HSV-1 due to oral suctionduring circumcision.Dr. Berman reviewed the medical file on the above-mentioned tragedy. He found therecord contained no information at all about the circumciser or the circumcision. Theweight of the evidence it did provide pointed overwhelmingly to the likelihood that thenewborn’s acquisition of a fatal herpes infection had come from an infected sibling.
 Dr. Berman subsequently confirmed his findings with the mother of the baby, Mrs. K.from Brooklyn. She told him that her 2-year old had plucked a pacifier from thenewborn’s mouth, stuck it into his own mouth for a second, then returned it to the infant’smouth. The 2-year old had been afflicted with severe herpes blisters on and off prior tothis incident and had an active cold sore at the time.
3The mother said she had no idea that a herpes infection was so contagious and could befatal to a newborn.However, neither the attending physicians in the hospital, the DOH researchers nor themedical examiner seized on this clue in determining the cause of the baby’s illness anddeath, though this complication was in the medical file. If they acknowledged the 2-yearold as a potential source for the newborn’s herpes infection, they gave no indication of it.Their questions were solely about the circumcision, who performed it, how exactly he didit and questions of that sort, Mrs. K. later told one of her attorneys, Mr. YerachmielSimins, who shared this information with
.“There’s a kind of tunnel vision in some parts of the medical community when it comesto mbp,” Dr. Berman observed. “In some ways this is understandable. To an outsider, thepractice of sucking blood from the circumcision wound on the baby’s organ isincomprehensible. There is a predisposition to see it as unhealthy even though when doneproperly, it isn’t.”The problem is that the negativity about mbp clouds people’s judgment, he said. “Whenyou have a clear family history of a herpes risk factor in front of you, no one shouldquestion for a split second where the newborn’s herpes infection came. Logically no oneshould be scratching their head, wondering if the baby picked up an infection from themohel. It makes no sense.” No mohel with cold sores would perform mbp.Mrs. K.’s newborn son died of a herpes infection ten months ago. During the interview,conducted in the presence of one of her attorneys, she recalled the excruciating chain of events that led up to her baby’s death, and the nightmarish harassment that followed.Her baby was about two and a half weeks old when she noticed one evening profusebleeding in the diaper area. When she was unable to stanch the bleeding, she rushed thebaby to the emergency room.Amid tests, the infant was hooked up to an IV and given medications to treat a possibleherpes infection or staff infection. An examination revealed a blister on the baby’s heelthat later turned out to be a herpes blister, but few other outer clues.“I told them yes, one of my children had had cold sores,” Mrs. K. recalled. “At the time, Ihad no idea that cold sores in a sibling - even a small sore - could be life threatening to aninfant. I’ve always been a very cautious mother, maybe even over-cautious when it cameto newborns. But it took this tragedy to open my eyes to the danger of herpestransmission.”“I was asked again and again about the circumcision by various people in the emergencyroom,” Mrs. K. recalled. “Was it a traditional circumcision, they wanted to know. Canyou tell us who did the procedure, they kept repeating.

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