A Kentucky jury has ruled in favor of the doctor who amputated a portion of a truck driver's genitalia during a routine circumcision surgery in 2007.
Dr. John Patterson told the court he had saved truck driver Philip Seaton's life when he amputated part of the man's penis after discovering a rare and deadly cancer.
What I saw was not a penis. What I saw was cancer, Patterson, a Frankfort urologist, testified in Shelby County Circuit Court.
Seaton, 64, sued Patterson in 2008 for removing part of his penis without his permission. Seaton and his wife of 35 years, Deborah, sought more than $16 million in damages for loss of service, love and affection.
Seaton signed a consent form for a routine circumcision in 2007 for an inflammation treatment. A disclaimer on the signed form included language that recognized Patterson's right to perform any further surgery he deemed necessary if unforeseen conditions arose, Clay Robinson, Patterson's attorney, told ABC News.
Kevin George, Seaton's lawyer, countered that Patterson should have sewn up his patient and consulted with the couple about such a life-altering surgery and his options to treat the cancer.
The jury of six men and six women ruled unanimously against a claim by Seaton and his wife that Patterson failed to exercise proper care. They also ruled 10-2 against a claim that Seaton hadn't consented to the amputation.
Patterson said he removed less than an inch of Seaton's penis. The rest of the penis was amputated by another doctor later, said Patterson's lawyer, Clay Robinson.
Patterson testified that when he cut the foreskin, the tip of the penis had the appearance of rotten cauliflower, indicating cancer. This diagnosis was later confirmed by a pathologist.
The cancer was so severe that Patterson felt that he had no other options but to surgically remove part of the penis, Robinson told the courtroom.
George told jurors that Seaton doesn't feel like a man anymore. He said that a surgeon cannot change the agreed upon procedure unless the patient's health is in immediate danger, unless he's in danger of dying immediately on the table.
One of main questions in the case was whether Patterson should have awakened Seaton and asked for permission to make the amputation. Doctors testifying as medical experts on both sides disagreed on whether an immediate amputation was necessary, reports Reuters.
However, after deliberations, the jury ruled in favor of Patterson after concluding that the Kentucky doctor had acted properly in amputating part of Seaton's penis.
Seaton also sued Louisville's Jewish Hospital, where the surgery was performed. The hospital settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.