Fri, Aug 19, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Trial set over US doctor’s decision to amputate penis

AP, SHELBYVILLE, KENTUCKY

The dispute between a US man and a surgeon over the necessity of amputating the patient’s penis during surgery in 2008 is set to go to trial this week.

The doctor maintains he found cancer in the man’s penis during surgery and that it had to be removed, according to the physician’s attorney. The patient claims the surgery was supposed to be a circumcision and he never authorized the amputation, nor was he given a chance to seek a second opinion.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin yesterday in the lawsuit brought by Phillip Seaton of Waddy and his wife, Deborah, against Dr John Patterson of Louisville. Attorneys hoped to start opening statements the same.

The Seatons sued Patterson in 2008 after an operation that resulted in the amputation.

Neither Kevin George, the attorney for the Seatons, nor Clay Robinson, the attorney for Patterson, would comment on the case. George said Judge Charles Hickman asked the lawyers to refrain from making public statements. Robinson did not respond to phone and e-mail messages left at his office in recent weeks.

The lawsuit alleges Patterson removed Seaton’s penis without consulting either Phillip or Deborah Seaton.

George said during a pre-trial hearing on Aug. 2 that the case comes down to whether jurors believe the amputation “was a necessary part of the surgery.”

“This is really a fact-driven case,” Hickman said during the pre-trial conference.

George has said that the doctor’s post-surgical notes show Patterson thought he detected cancer and removed the penis, but, George added, the situation was not an emergency.

Robinson has previously said that Patterson, a Kentucky-based urologist, had permission to perform any medical procedure deemed necessary and that the doctor found cancer in the organ during the surgery.

The Seatons are seeking unspecified damages from Patterson for “loss of service, love and affection.” The Seatons also sued Jewish Hospital, where the surgery took place. The hospital settled with the Seatons for an undisclosed amount.

The Seatons’ suit is similar to one in which an Indianapolis man was awarded more than US$2.3 million in damages after he claimed his penis and left testicle were removed without his consent during surgery for an infection in 1997.

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