Penis Amputee Receives No Damages in Kentucky Trial

Phillip Seaton received no award after penis amputation trial.

ByMikaela Conley
August 24, 2011, 3:56 PM

Aug. 24, 2011— -- A unanimous jury ruled in favor of the Kentucky doctor who amputated a portion of Phillip Seaton's penis during an October 2007 circumcision to treat inflammation.

The jury unanimously found that Dr. John Patterson exercised appropriate care when he removed a portion of Seaton's penis after finding cancer and ruled 10-2 against Seaton's claim that Patterson did not properly obtain consent to him before removing his penis.

"We feel the interest of justice has been served," Clay Robinson, Patterson's attorney, told ABC News. "When you hear about someone going in for a circumcision and it turned into a partial amputation, there's going to be a reaction, but it was a pretty clear-cut case. There was no liability here."

Seaton signed a consent form for a routine circumcision. Within the signed forms, a disclaimer included language that recognized Patterson's right to perform any further surgery he deemed necessary if unforeseen conditions arose, Robinson said.

Seaton, 64, sued Patterson in 2008 for removing part of his penis without his permission. The trial got under way Monday in Shelby County, Ky., Circuit Court. Seaton and his wife, Deborah, sought more than $16 million in damages for "loss of service, love and affection."

Seaton's lawyer, Kevin George, told jurors this week that Seaton "doesn't feel like a man" without his penis, The Associated Press reported.

But Robinson said the surgeon felt he had no other options but to remove the penis immediately.

The tip of Seaton's penis "had the appearance of rotten cauliflower" because it was so inundated with cancer, Robinson told the courtroom on Monday. The defense attorney also told the jury that Patterson only removed about an inch of the penis during the initial surgery before another surgeon removed the rest of his penis at a later date.

Partial penectomy, or a partial removal of the penis; Mohs surgery, a precise surgery used to remove several types of skin cancer; laser and radiation therapies were all options when treating penile cancer, said Dr. David Crawford, a professor of surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Because the surgeon said the cancer was so severe, Robinson told the courtroom that Patterson could treat it only by surgically removing the organ.

Seaton also sued Louisville's Jewish Hospital, where the surgery was performed. The hospital settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

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