Penis Amputation Victim Has No One to Blame But Himself


Former truck driver Phillip Seaton of Kentucky is suing the doctor who amputated his penis after he went in for a circumcision. The doctor, finding his penis riddled with cancer, decided to take it off because Seaton, who is illiterate, signed a document saying he could.

The consent form stating that the doctor was allowed to do what was needed once Seaton was under anesthesia was apparently part of the packet of information he initialed when he went into the hospital for the circumcision. The doctor who did the amputation felt he was saving his life.

On the stand today, Seaton said when he woke from surgery, the doctor spoke to him:

He said, "I got good news and bad news. The bad news is you had cancer, the good news is I had to cut some of your penis off" ... 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. Then I come out of the restroom and said I'm getting the hell out of this damn hospital.

For Seaton, the result has been an altered life in which he feels like less of a man and cannot be intimate with his wife anymore. And while my heart breaks for him, it's also his own fault. If he had run into someone with his truck after running a stop sign, he couldn't claim his illiteracy as a defense. So why can he sue the doctor who saved his life using the same claim?

If you don't understand something, don't sign! It's that simple. Besides, realistically, what were his options? Had the doctor revived him, told him the bad news, and given him his options, would he have really refused surgery just because he wanted to keep his penis? He may very well have died.

It's a horrible story, to be sure. "I didn't have no say in it," he testified. And all of our hearts go out to him, but the fact is, he probably would have made that same decision. If he didn't want doctors making those decisions, he should have asked for help with the paperwork. Unfortunately not being able to read doesn't excuse a person from their signature or initialing. And if it did, what then? Doctors would have no freedom. Anyone going into surgery would be forced to prove they can read.

The fact is, this man's story is heartbreaking, but the hospital doesn't owe him money. In fact, he likely saved his life.

Do you think he should win?


Image via The U.S. Army/Flickr

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Ashleigh Munson

The hospital, of course. Don't sign crap you haven't read! People do it all the time, and then whine and moan when it bites them in the butt. He may have elected to try some other form of treatment, but if it was that important to him, then maybe he should have actually read the legal document he was signing.

blue_... blue_glass_mama

He should not win!!! How can he be a truck driver and not read??? And why was he getting a circumsicion so late in life???? I wonder???

LikeA... LikeAVirgin

I feel so awful for this poor guy! This is a very sad story, but the hospital should win.

nonmember avatar Jay


Melissa Mayes

Oh come on, Dude! A penis does not make a man! It's how u act, how u treat people that make u a man. I feel sorry 4 him that he is illiterate, but that does not mean u don't have a brain. They obviously read it 2 him & told him what it said 4 him 2 sign it like he did. Cuz if he really couldn't read he wouldn't of signed it. Unless like so many people out there he's just trying 2 get free money by suing the Dr.'s.

FourK... FourKidsSoFar

I think he should've been consulted before the amputation. He was going in for a circumcision, not a surgery to "see how bad the cancer is and react" I'm assuming? If I was going in for a routine procedure and ended up with something gone, I would be pretty upset too. Even if he might have made that decision after the consultation, he wasn't given the choice in the first place.

Melissa Mayes

I agree so much w/what ur saying blue_glass_mama.  I wonder, 2.

nonmember avatar James

Actually, he has a very strong case and should win. The hospital is responsible to be sure that the client has received "informed consent." Legally that means that they are responsible to be sure that the patient understands what he/she is signing. Unfortunately it happens all the time in this era of "health care" where doctors are pushed to see more and more patients in less and less time. THAT is the crime here, not the poor guys inability to read!

purpl... purpleducky

This is how many breast cancer survivors who had to have one or both breasts removed feel. It is because we tie gender and sex together in our society. It sucks. It takes lots of support in order to overcome this.

As for who should win, I cannot say without knowing more about the case.

nonmember avatar vtwin

It not the end of the world, there’s lots of things one can do without a penis. Like… damn!

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