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Kentucky court upholds ruling in penis removal case

By David Ferguson
Monday, December 24, 2012 9:15 EDT
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Surgeon with scalpel via Shutterstock
 
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The Kentucky Court of Appeals has upheld an earlier court ruling in the case of 66-year-old Phillip Seaton of Waddy, who is seeking damages from Dr. John Patterson. According to the Associated Press, Patterson removed a cancerous section of Seaton’s penis as part of what was supposed to have been a routine adult circumcision procedure in 2007.

The appeals court ruled that Seaton had given his consent to all necessary medical procedures prior to the surgery, in accordance with the prior court ruling. Patterson maintains that he did what any physician would do upon discovering a potentially life threatening illness in the course of a routine surgery, he removed the cancer.

Seaton claimed that he never authorized an amputation and that he was not given a chance to seek a second opinion.

Judge Janet Stumbo wrote the court’s decision, which took into account “uncontested testimony in the record that if Mr. Seaton were not treated for the penile cancer, it would prove fatal in the future.”

Judge Michael Caperton was the sole dissenter among the appeals panel, but did not issue a dissenting opinion.

Patterson’s attorney, Clay Robinson of Lexington, KY, said that the panel’s opinion was “very well-reasoned” and well-researched.

“You always appreciate when you see judges at any level go into that amount of detail,” he said.

Seaton and his wife Deborah sued in the wake of the surgery in 2008 in Shelby County Circuit Court. Seaton was seeking adult circumcision as a means of relieving inflammation. Patterson said that what he found when he performed the procedure was an advanced case of squamous cell carcinoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer.

Patterson found that a tumor was covering most of the top of the organ, which necessitated the removal of a significant section so that a catheter might be run to Seaton’s ureter. The main point of contention in the court case was that the doctor could have waited to remove the organ and allowed the patient to seek a second opinion.

Seaton and his wife Deborah sued Patterson and Jewish hospital, where the procedure took place. The hospital settled with the Seatons for an undisclosed sum.

Judge Stumbo wrote, “(The Seatons) maintain that no harm would have resulted if Dr. Patterson has consulted with either of them before proceeding, or if he had allowed them to consult with another physician to get a second opinion or other treatment options.”

However, having reviewed the medical evidence, the panel agreed with Patterson that the cancer was so extensive as to make the amputation medically necessary.

[image via Shutterstock]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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