Circumcision baby may have died in shul

By Robyn Rosen, September 7, 2009

Amitai Moshe, the baby who died eight days after his brit in Golders Green Synagogue, may have clinically died at the shul itself, a London inquest heard.

Amitai was circumcised on February 1 2007 but shortly after the ceremony he began to turn blue and blood was seen around his mouth and nose.

Two medically trained guests and the mohel attempted to resuscitate him.

Hatzola, the strictly Orthodox ambulance service, and the London Ambulance Service were both called and Hatzola arrived first, taking the baby to the Royal Free Hospital. He was transferred to the University College London (UCH) where he died on February 9.

Today, the inquest heard from Amitai’s parents Ran and Yotvat, mohel Rabbi Moshe Perry, who conducted the brit, and doctor Simon Cohen and dentist Philip Freiberger, who both witnessed the brit.

While questioning Dr Cohen, who attempted to resuscitate Amitai, Jonathan Goldberg QC, representing the Initiation Society, said: “This baby may have been clinically dead because there was no pulse and no breathing. The baby was probably dead before it got into the ambulance.”

Dr Cohen replied: “I think that is highly likely. He didn’t have circulation or respiration.”

Questioning further, coroner Andrew Walker, asked: “Is it more likely than not that he died in the synagogue?” Dr Cohen responded: “The answer has to be yes.”

The court also heard the tragic details of Amitai’s death from his parents.

His mother, Yotvat, said that Amitai had suffered a slight cold the night before the brit, but appeared healthy on the day so she did not inform the mohel. It was only after the ceremony, when she began to breastfeed Amitai that she noticed something was wrong.

“He was uncomfortable and moving around,” she said. “He was crying and I stopped. Then he relaxed and was having milk normally. He stopped and I thought he fell asleep. Then I saw blood on my shirt. I thought it was mine but I saw blood from his nose. His colour was yellow.”

Rabbi Perry said that had he known about the cold, he would have asked a GP to inspect the baby to see if the brit should go ahead.

The inquest continues.

Last updated: 3:17pm, September 9 2009