The programme It’s a Boy, to be screened on Channel 4 this month, includes graphic footage of a circumcision in the Midlands that went disastrously wrong. The 8-day-old baby, circumcised without anaesthetic by a rabbi who is not a doctor, is seen bloodied and screaming in agony during the operation. When it was clear things were going wrong, the rabbi demanded the crew stop filming, but they secretly recorded what followed. The boy developed an infection and ended up in intensive care being pumped with antibiotics and kept alive by oxygen and drips.
The film — the work of Victor Schoenfeld, the Jewish father of a circumcised son — also presents details of 2 babies who died as a result of circ and contains an interview with the mother of a third who almost bled to death. It reveals cases of permanent genital disfigurement, claiming that, at a conservative estimate one in 50 circumcisions leads to serious complications. The impact of the film, which also shows Muslim circumcisions, will be intensified by Ch. 4’s decision to show it without commercial breaks. —The Observer, London, 3 Sept 1995 Circ Info Network 951011