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11-year-old dies allegedly of tetanus days after circumcision


An 11-year-old boy died after he was circumcised at a health center in Davao Oriental in late July.

According to the "24 Oras" report of GMA One Mindanao's Kent Abrigana, Lear John Ilisan was circumcised on July 8. He died weeks later on July 27.

“Hindi namin matanggap ang nangyari sa anak ko kasi mabait yan…  Nawala siya kaya hindi ko matanggap talaga,” Lear’s father Armando said.

(We cannot accept what happened to my son because he was kind... He’s gone and I cannot accept it.)

At first, they thought that the boy’s condition was normal two days after his circumcision.

Lear had a lockjaw in the following days.

“Sunday morning medyo okay pa siya. Tinawagan ko ang midwife, sabi ko ‘Ma’am parang may tetanus yata ang bata. Mag-render na tayo ng anti-tetanus…'  After ng anti-tetanus… lalong lumala,” Armando said.

(Sunday morning, he was still okay. I called the midwife, I said 'Ma'am, the child seems to have tetanus. Let's render anti-tetanus’... After anti-tetanus... it got worse.)

Lear's death certificate indicated that he died because of “respiratory failure caused by generalized tetanus.”

Angelina Uyanguren, rural midwife of Lupon Municipal Health Center, denied the claims.

“Tiningnan ko ang tuli ng bata. Sinabihan ko ang magulang kung saan ba ako nagkamali? Saan banda? Sabi ng ina ng bata, ‘Gumaling na pala.’ Sabi ko naman na may dala akong tetanus toxoid. Proteksyon ito para sa inyong anak. Nagpaalam na rin ako sa papa ninyo,” Uyanguren said.

(I examined the boy's circumcision. I asked the parents, ‘Where did I go wrong?’. ‘He's recovered,’ said the boy's mother. I mentioned that I had tetanus toxoid with me. This is for your child's safety. I also asked permission from the father.)

The boy’s body has been laid to rest. But his relatives continued to ask for help.

“Gusto kasi namin para lesson learned sa lahat ng mga parents na gustong magpatuli [ng kanilang anak],” Armando said.

(Because we want it to be a lesson learned to all parents who want to have their children circumcised.)

The Department of Health has said it would investigate the incident. —Mel Matthew Doctor/NB, GMA News

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