Patient Sues Over Amputated Penis

A patient has filed a personal injury lawsuit against a Kentucky doctor for the amputation of his penis during a medical procedure.

MSNBC.com reports that Dr. John Patterson removed Phillip Seaton's penis because Seaton had cancer. Patterson claims that prior to the procedure, Seaton had given him permission to perform any medical procedure deemed necessary. The amputation was performed during a scheduled circumcision to treat inflammation. The attorney for Dr. Patterson, Clay Robinson, said that his client performed the surgery because Seaton had cancer.

Seaton and his wife filed a lawsuit in Shelby County Circuit Court. The lawsuit claims that Patterson performed the procedure without consulting Seaton or his wife. The complaint also states that Seaton and his wife were not given the opportunity to seek a second opinion.

At issue in this case is whether or not Seaton gave effective informed consent to Dr. Patterson by allegedly telling him to perform any medical procedure deemed necessary. Usually, four questions will be considered to determine whether a patient's consent was informed:

  1. Did the patient understand enough of the information to give an effective consent?
  2. Was the patient given the same information as other patients in the same situation?
  3. If the patient had been given sufficient information, would he or she have consented to the treatment?
  4. Was the patient warned about complications that could occur as a result of the medical procedure?

The trier of fact (a judge or jury) will also look at exceptions to the informed consent rule: emergency situations, risk of significant emotional or physical harm to the patient, and compulsory tests.

Seaton and his wife are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages within their personal injury complaint. Whether they are successful or not will depend upon the application of relevant law to the existing facts.


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