Medical malpractice trial over amputated penis begins

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on May 18, 2012 in Medical Malpractice

Patients in West Virginia can choose to have certain types of surgery on an elective basis. In any case, however, there is always at least some risk of a surgical error or adverse outcome that could involve a medical malpractice claim. Given this fact -- and because the ages and health histories of some patients can increase both the risks and severity of consequences associated with a particular surgery -- doctors are obligated to assess each patient's situation and suitability for surgical procedures on an individual basis.

This week, the trial of a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a 65-year-old man whose penis had to be amputated when it became infected following penile implant surgery began in a courtroom just a few states south of here.

The plaintiff in that Florida case is a native of Peru who was deported back to his home country by U.S immigration authorities last year. The man elected to have the implant surgery due to erectile dysfunction that was not allowing him to have normal marital relations with his wife.

Although penile implant surgery is generally considered to be a safe, low-risk procedure even for patients with diabetes (provided the condition is controlled), the man developed an infection that turned to gangrene two weeks after the procedure, which meant his penis had to be amputated or he would die.

In court, the plaintiff's lawyer claimed the defendant doctor, an anesthesiologist, failed to properly evaluate the risks and should have realized that his client's diabetes and high blood pressure made him a poor candidate for the penile implant procedure. Testifying via Skype, the plaintiff himself told jurors about his experience and the loss of his dignity and manhood.

While the urologist also named as a defendant in the 2009 medical malpractice lawsuit agreed to a confidential settlement early on, the anesthesiologist's attorney claims that the post-surgical infection had nothing to do with his client's actions and everything to do with the plaintiff not following doctor's orders after the procedure.

Source: ABC News, "Diabetic Sues Doctor After His Infected Penis Is Amputated," Susan Donaldson James, May 17, 2012

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