Trial of partial penis amputation begins

Phillip Seaton
Phillip Seaton
Dr. John Patterson
Dr. John Patterson

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Shelby County man claims part of his penis was removed while in surgery without his permission. That man was the first to take the stand in his civil suit Monday morning. 64-year-old Phillip Seaton is suing his doctor, arguing he never gave consent, but the defense says he signed a consent form and the doctor may have saved his life.

Seaton's life changed forever October 2007. He went in for what he thought was a circumcision, but when he woke-up, he couldn't believe what Dr. John Patterson said to him.

"He said I got good news and bad news," said Seaton on the stand. "The bad news is you had cancer, the good news is I had to cut some of your penis off."

Seaton's family was with him in the courtroom. They were also there the day when he got the news.

"I got up out of bed, went to the restroom and looked to see what he was talking about, and I pulled the dressing down, and I didn't see nothing," said Seaton. "Then I come out of the restroom and said I'm getting the hell out of this damn hospital."

Seaton's family says he hasn't been the same since.

"The spark has gone out of his eyes," said Seaton's older brother David. "He used to be such a happy person."

Seaton is suing his urologist Dr. John Patterson who performed the surgery, saying he never got a choice. His attorney played a prior deposition from another doctor, who was originally part of the lawsuit.

"There was nothing there that would require something immediate," said anesthesiologist Dr. Oliver James.

The defense claims it would have been unsafe to sew the incision for fear of infection, and that most people with that type of cancer would have been dead by now without the surgery.

"He's here today because that cancer didn't get him because John Patterson removed it," said defense attorney Clay Robinson.

The defense points out Seaton signed a consent form that gives the physician the right to perform additional or different procedures.

Seaton said in court he can't read and it's unclear how much the hospital staff read him word-for-word and how much was paraphrased. When questioned by the defense, Seaton admitted while he took home a copy of the paperwork, he never asked anyone to read it to him.

Robinson read prior deposition where the plaintiff said the maximum he would attempt to claim for damages, pain, suffering, and mental anguish is $23.8 million.

"That's what me and my lawyer have come to," said Seaton.

The Seatons also sued Jewish Hospital, where the surgery took place. The hospital settled for an undisclosed amount.

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