TORONTO – A devastated couple is searching for answers after their 22-day-old baby died when a circumcision went wrong.
Ryan Heydari died in January 2013 after losing over one-third of his entire blood volume resulting from the procedure.
His parents Homa Ahmadi and John Heydari say they hoped the province’s medical watchdog could shed some light on their son’s death and how to prevent similar tragedies. Instead, Ontario’s College of Physician and Surgeons issued a secret ruling and leveled no punishments toward the doctors involved.
“We don’t feel like we got any proper answer as to why Ryan died from bleeding,” they said in a statement.
“We are so shocked that we will not have an answer to bring us some peace for our broken hearts, to prevent other cruel deaths like Ryan’s, and to ensure that doctors take proper care of their patients.”
They say they didn’t want their newborn son circumcised at all, but ultimately followed the recommendation of their family doctor, who suggested it.
Some research indicates circumcision can help prevent sexually transmitted infections and other health problems but the Canadian Pediatric Society just last month updated its position and now advises parents against “the routine circumcision of every newborn male.”
READ MORE: Pediatric Society updates advice on circumcision
Ryan was circumcised on January 17, 2013, two weeks after his birth. The pediatrician who conducted the procedure told the College that it was uneventful. However, Ryan’s parents say he was bleeding alarmingly later that day, and brought him to North York General Hospital, where he died seven days later.
A pathologists’ report concluded that Ryan died from hypovolemic shock, a condition where severe blood or fluid loss leads to organ failure. Ryan lost 35 to 40 per cent of his total blood volume, the report said.
The doctor who performed the circumcision received a “caution” from the College of Surgeons, which is essentially an official warning to correct a problem in their practice, but not a finding of misconduct or negligence.
READ MORE: Circumcision benefits outweigh risks, CDC warns
The family doctor who recommended Ryan’s circumcision was warned to be more mindful of the risks in future.
However, Ryan’s parents think the College hasn’t gone far enough.
“We know that something is wrong if a baby can die from a simple circumcision, and that is why we wanted the College to pay due attention to our son’s death,” they said.