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Jewish Hospital Verdict Stuns Patient Loses Penis Circumcision Turns to Amputation

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In The News

There are bad surgeries--and then there are very bad, or wrong, surgeries. A man who went to Jewish Hospital Louisville for a routine surgical procedure ended up with an amputated penis. A jury verdict--finding in favor of Doctor John Patterson who instead lopped an inch off Phillip Seaton's penis while under anesthetic--stuns experts. Experts and doctors alike have argued specific consent should've been required--that the urologist physician would likely lose the case ending in full amputation.
Philip Seaton may have been more fortunate had he been a Caliornia resident and able to hold out on that surgery recommendation a bit longer: By 2012 San Francisco residents were hoping for a ban on circumcisions, period -- hoping to make the elective surgery completely illegal. At least a circumcision ban would've worked in the guy's favor. He could've at least kept his penis. 
Phillip Seaton has now instead sued the Jewish Hospital Shelbyville doctor who performed the penis amputation -- with the trial just ending in the case of what the patient says was an incorrect amputation at Jewish Hospital Louisville, over three years ago.
The patient, 64-year-old Seaton, was scheduled for a circumcision due to inflammation he was having in his penis. Surgery was performed by urologist Dr. John Patterson from Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, while Phillip Seaton was under anesthesia.
After waking up from anesthesia at the Louisville hospital location, the Phillip Seaton says: "Next thing I remember, I went to the bathroom and looked to see what he [Dr. John Patterson] was talking about. I pulled the dressing down and didn't see anything, then came out and said, 'I'm getting the hell out of this hospital.'"
Urologist John Patterson claims he found cancer on the patient while performing what was supposed to be a routine circumcision surgery and -- apparently instead of consulting with an awake patient -- cut an inch off Seaton's penis, in what he claims were efforts to remove the disease or cancerous tissues.
It was a surgical procedure for which Phillip Seaton insists his consent was never provided. And things only went down a worse path as the patient of Jewish Hospital eventually ended up with an entirely amputated penis in a second surgery after the inch had already been lopped off by Doctor Patterson.
Phillip Seaton is a truck driver by trade -- also unable to read or write -- but acknowledges signing medical forms before surgery, one of which states in part: "I recognize that during the course of the procedure, unforeseen conditions may necessitate additional or different procedures than those set out in this paragraph. I therefore further authorize and request that my physician perform said procedures as are in my physician's professional judgment necessary and desirable, including but not limited to procedures involving pathology and radiology.”
It's kind of a vague, wide-open set of legal terms the hospital seems to have created for itself -- that would leave patients with a vast amount of ambiguity. A pertinent question may pertain to the idea that, if Seaton is unable to read or write, how the hospital justifies his signature -- if in fact there is no second notarizing signature to state that hospital or doctor terms were read, and understood, by the patient prior to surgery. The vagueness of the paragraph doesn't seem to stipulate that the doctor or hospital maintains the right to change the surgery to a different type of surgery altogether: Using the hospital's apparent interpretation, that would mean a patient who goes in for a heart valve repair could come out with a transplant. Or that a patient entering a hospital for a knee or joint repair could come out with an amputated leg or arm. Frankly, it appears to be scary stuff.
Dr. John Patterson is claiming the paperwork gave him "implied consent" -- that, if the patient were able to, Phillip Seaton would have requested the affected penis portion(s) removed.
Jewish Hospital patient Phillip Seaton says: "I'm mad because I didn't have a say in what happened to me. I was not told what had to be done. It was just done [his penis amputated]."
The judge has issued a gag order in what is obviously a sensitive trial. Seaton's lawyer told jurors his client no longer feels like a man -- providing at least four photos to a jury panel, with the remark: "You can see there's nothing [no penis] there."
Doctor John Patterson's lawyer, Clay Robinson, claims the Jewish Hospital surgeon removed only the tip of Seaton's penis -- an inch or so which the surgeon claims was so riddled with deadly penile cancer that the penis end resembled rotten cauliflower.
Of course, Patterson from Jewish Hospital Shelbyville claims his actions of amputating part of the man's penis in surgery were necessary: "In this case, it was the best for Mr. [Phillip] Seaton," claims John Patterson in court testimony. "That was my goal from Day 1."
And that would bring to light an important point: If, in fact, Dr. Patterson's "goal from Day 1" was to provide the best for his patient, then he would've known about the probably necessity of penis amputation through thorough examination of his patient before the surgery. A doctor doesn't simply go from examining a patient for whom he recommends a simple circumcision to suddenly finding an unreal amount of cancer just days or weeks after a pre-surgical exam. Statements don't seem to add up.
Either the penis tip was so riddled with deadly cancer that it resembled cauliflower before the surgery -- or it didn't: The cauliflower appearance should've logically been apparent in an exam by the doctor, not suddenly showing up or 'shocking' a doctor in the middle of a surgery.
The Jewish Hospital surgeon of the Shelbyville location better hope he took some very detailed photographs of his extreme "cauliflower" claim during that surgery where he removed an inch from patient Seaton's penis -- for evidence of that 'necessity'.
Somehow another doctor ended up removing the remainder of Seaton's penis in an amputation -- after the original tip of the penis was removed.
The jury trial's verdict in the Phillip Seaton case against the Jewish Hospital Shelbyville doctor has been an unexpected one: The Seatons sued Jewish Hospital Louisville, where the surgery took place, in a separate lawsuit -- in a case where the hospital chose to settle in the matter, providing the patient an undisclosed amount of money or compensation, rather than risk going to trial. The current lawsuit involving urologist John Patterson of Jewish Hospital Shelbyville was considered a slam dunk, with experts and doctors weighing in on the jury trial. Philip Seaton's lawsuit had been seeking roughly $16 million in damages for "loss of service, love and affection."
Doctor after doctor had said they didn't believe urologist John Patterson would win the court trial over penis amputation -- including the reputed Dr. David Crawford, professor of surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, who said: "I think the doctor [John Patterson] made a big mistake, and will not win the case." Crawford's opinion: After citing other treatment options the surgeon could have used to treat penile cancer -- like a partial penectomy, partial removal of the penis, Mohs surgery which is precise for skin cancer, or laser and radiation treatments or therapy.
Other experts argued that, even if the penis needed to be surgically removed because of an extreme severity of cancer, specific surgical consent should have been required to remove the man's organ -- and that a lack of consent would breach standard of care in the case.


Dr John Patterson, Urologist: Jewish Hospital Shelbyville
727 Hospital Drive
Shelbyville, KY 40065-1699
United States
Phone: (502) 647-4000
38° 12' 34.5564" N, 85° 14' 9.5208" W
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