Army veteran Michael D. Nash is suing the Veterans Administration after a nurse packed his penis in ice for 19 hours after a surgery, causing frostbite and gangrene and ultimately resulting in the amputation of a five-inch section of the organ. According to the New York Daily News (NYDN), the Louisville, Kentucky man filed suit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
Nash’s lawyer, Larry Jones of the Jones Ward law firm in Louisville, told the NYDN that his client, who served in the military in 1968 and 1969, checked into the VA hospital on October 28, 2010 to receive a medically necessary adult circumcision and a penile implant. His injury came after the procedure, when a nurse packed the site with ice non-stop for 19 hours.
“It basically caused frostbite on his penis, which eventually caused gangrene,” Jones said. “In addition to robbing someone of their manhood, they’ve robbed him of the simple ability to urinate just like every other person who lives in this world.”
According to Columbia University’s “Go Ask Alice” health advice website, safe use of ice for any injury involves periods where the ice is removed from the painful area.
“Removing an ice pack after a brief cooling period is important because your skin is sensitive and doesn’t get “used to” the cold from directly applied ice packs or bags,” it says. “Believe it or not, you risk developing frostbite and, in severe cases, nerve and tissue damage when you leave your body exposed to extreme cold for long stretches of time.”
In Nash’s case, the damage was extensive and irreversible. According to Jones, after doctors amputated five inches of Nash’s penis, reconstructive surgeries will be necessary to allow him to urinate.
“It’s about the most blatant medical malpractice error one could make,” said Jones. “It’s a senseless tragedy that should never have happened.”
He added, “If this was someone who had a little frostbite and a little burning for a couple of days, there would be no suit. I would not wish this on my own worst enemy.”
[image via Shutterstock]