Jury finds ‘no medical malpractice’ in penis amputation lawsuit

A jury found Dr. John Patterson not liable in the medical malpractice lawsuit against him in the amputation of a patient’s penis during surgery to remove the man’s foreskin.

The patient, Philip Seaton, asked for up to $16 million damages saying that he went through great anguish after undergoing surgery for, what he thought would be a circumcision, to find that his penis had been amputated. Dr. Patterson argued that after he began the surgery, he discovered Stage T-2 penile cancer and that removal of the penis saved the man’s life.

The trial hinged, in part, on whether Seaton had provided his informed consent. His attorneys said he should have been awakened from the surgery and been able to make a decision as to whether he wanted the amputation.

The attorney for Patterson argued that Seaton had, in fact, signed a consent form for what ever the surgeon felt was necessary to treat him, despite the fact that the surgeon had not expected to find cancer but only an infected foreskin.

In judging a physician negligent, one must ask the question, “What would a reasonable and prudent surgeon do under the same circumstances.” In tort law “professional standard of care” is the test for negligence. While Seaton was understandably very upset and traumatized by his situation, the jury appeared to have felt that the surgeon made the right call and that he made the right call to amputate. Their decision was unanimous.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a medical malpractice law firm, representing people who have been seriously injured by medical negligence and the family of those who have died.

Source: Jury rules for doctor in penis amputation case
By Lisa King. The Sentinel-News,
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
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