Penis Amputation Victim Case Has Surprising Outcome

Phillip Seaton of Kentucky used to be a truck driver, but now he is more well known for being the guy who sued his doctor after his doctor amputated his penis. And as of yesterday, he lost his case.

Seaton, whose doctor amputated his penis after he went in for a circumcision, is illiterate and he had inadvertently signed a document saying the doctor could act in case of emergency without waking him. His doctor saw a penis riddled with cancer and he amputated it.

The case was really a heartbreaking one and no one could deny that Seaton had every reason to be furious. After all, because of this doctor's sudden decision, he was unable to get a second opinion or give the matter any thought. But the jury decided this doctor saved his life and, therefore, they found in the doctor's favor. And they were right. But he was also right to sue.


The issue the Seaton case highlights is an important one. The only recourse patients and consumers have when we feel we have been wrongfully harmed is legal. There is no other way to make a person pay. Seaton could never get his penis back, but he could sue the doctor who created the situation.

He lost. But that doesn't make the case frivolous. After all, was there a biopsy performed? Did the hospital have an obligation to make sure their patients could read before signing anything? The answer is no. In both cases. But it's also important that we as patients and consumers have the right to hold people and corporations who wrong us accountable.

Does anyone remember the McDonald's hot coffee case? It's often heralded as the ultimate in frivolous lawsuits, but the fact is McDonald's was completely negligent with the temperature of their coffee. The victim was trying to put milk and sugar in her coffee, which was unreasonably hot after getting her coffee at a drive-through. She wasn't even driving. She was in the passenger seat. She almost died from her injuries. All she wanted was for them to pay her medical bills paid and they refused. Suing gave her -- and all consumers -- power. McDonald's had burned many others in the same way but no change happened until she sued.

It's the same thing here. And in cases like these, blame is assigned in percentages. Maybe Seaton was mostly to blame, but his doctor may think twice before doing something like this again and maybe Seaton has stopped anyone else from experiencing this kind of pain. And for that reason, he did the right thing.

To bring his private pain into the public sphere had to be very humiliating for him. And even though he lost and, in the end, it makes sense why he did, he was still right to have done it.

Do you think he was right to sue?


Image via srqpix/Flickr

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