July 12, 2011 -- Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, is under arrest for chopping off her husband's penis and tossing it in the garbage disposal.
After she laced her husband's food with an unknown drug or poison, he lay down, believing something was wrong with the food, according to police reports. Her husband then woke up tied to the bed as Becker cut off his penis with a knife. She then threw the genitalia in the garbage disposal and turned the disposal on, Lt. Jeff Nightengale of Garden Grove, Calif. police, said.
Nightengale said the couple is going through a divorce, but could not confirm why Becker wanted to cut off her husband's manhood.
Becker eventually called 911, asking for medical assistance. When firefighters and police arrived on scene, Becker told officials that her husband "deserved it," said Nightengale. Police found the man, who remains unidentified, tied to the bed and "bleeding profusely." Becker was arrested on several charges, including aggravated mayhem, false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon.
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Her husband was rushed to University of California at Irvine Medical Center for treatment.
"He is in stable condition, but we have no details about the surgery," said Nightengale.
"Police were able to recover portions of the penis from the garbage disposal," Nightengale noted, but it is unclear how much or whether doctors will be able to reattach them.
"The immediate issue here is to control the bleeding," said Dr. Alasdair Conn, chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital, who said that the injury is quite unusual, even in the emergency room.
Upon his arrival, doctors need to tie off arteries and veins to stop the bleeding. Surgeons will attempt to maintain the remaining tissue and cover the wound so it does not get infected, Conn said.
If the penis is available to reattach, Dr. Ryan Terlecki, assistant professor surgical sciences-urology at Wake Forest University, said it should be wrapped in saline-soaked gauze, placed in a plastic bag, and the bag then should be placed in an ice bath to keep cold.
"Time is of the essence for a re-implant," said Terlecki, who has performed a handful of such procedures. "It's best to reattach it within 24 hours, preferably less than eight hours."
Doctors then reconstruct the nerve arteries and veins, while also putting the erectile tissue back together.
Urine control will not likely be affected because the muscle that causes the sensation to go to the bathroom is outside of the bladder. That muscle probably went untouched during the assault, Conn said, but a Foley catheter will likely be inserted into the bladder to drain urine, which is also "a relatively straightforward procedure."
If doctors cannot reattach the original penis, Conn said, "over the next few days, surgeons have to decide what to do to reconstruct the penis. Plastic surgeons who specialize in transgender operations may be able to construct a new penis."
Terlecki said that the penis is recreated by grafting tissue from another part of the body and then augmented with a penile prosthetic.
With the prosthetic, a man can still "urinate and have sexual relations and ejaculate.There's usually not the same force of ejaculation, but plumbing for that purpose is still intact."