Lawsuit claims Squirrel Hill rabbi botched 8-day-old's circumcision
A Squirrel Hill rabbi botched a ritual circumcision, causing a “catastrophic and life-changing injury” to an 8-day-old boy, his parents claim in a civil lawsuit filed this week.
Attorney Neil Rosen, who represents the mother, father and child identified by initials in the complaint, called the incident “unimaginable” but declined further comment. Rosen said he used his clients' initials to protect the identity of the child, now 8 months old.
The lawsuit filed on Tuesday says Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg, 54, performed a ritual circumcision on the boy on April 28, as required by Jewish custom. Rosenberg, an Orthodox mohel — or ritual circumciser — referred calls to his attorneys at the Downtown law firm Weber Gallagher, who did not return calls.
The suit does not specify the child's injuries but claims Rosenberg acted “with a total disregard” for the boy.
The parents, who witnessed what happened, rushed their son to Children's Hospital for emergency reconstructive surgery and leech therapy, the lawsuit says.
Carrie Sorenson, a clinical pharmacist at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, N.D., said leeches help a body accept reattached parts by promoting blood flow and tissue regeneration. The baby required several follow-up visits, the lawsuit says.
Rosenberg's website says he was trained by rabbis in Pittsburgh and Jerusalem and is recognized as a certified mohel by the American Board of Ritual Circumcision in New York. Rabbi Avrohom Cohen, board chairman, did not return calls.
Mohels are not certified by a government agency because circumcision is considered a religious ceremony and not a medical procedure.
Mistakes are relatively uncommon and infant circumcisions are generally complication-free, said Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler, chair of the Reform Judaism movement's circumcision training and certification program in Los Angeles.
The Reform and Conservative Judaism movements certify licensed physicians to perform ritual circumcisions rather than clergy members, as the Orthodox do, Adler said.
“While the vast majority has probably never had this kind of horrific outcome, you can't predict to whom and when a mistake like this is going to happen,” she said.
Adam Brandolph is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers-Texans game changers: Bell’s 43-yard catch provides spark
- Steelers use 3 late first-half TDs to stun Texans
- Rookie Bryant sparks deep passing game
- Rossi: Steelers’ season all about going big
- 12-year-old’s donated heart joins families, lets her memory live
- Steelers notebook: Adams replaces concussed Gilbert
- Demand for hazmat suits due to Ebola outbreak triples firm’s production
- Geibel goalie saves game during shootout, beats Carlynton
- Pittsburgh police officers start wearing video cameras
- Riverview embracing underdog role in WPIAL first-round win
- Bortuzzo, if healthy, could provide much-needed physical presence on blue line for Penguins