Bruce Schreiner, AP
Opening arguments will be heard Monday in the civil trial of a Kentucky man who is suing a surgeon who amputated his penis four years ago. A jury was swiftly seated in a Shelbyville courtroom Thursday in a lawsuit filed by Phillip Seaton and his wife Deborah. They sued Dr. John Patterson of Louisville in 2008 for unspecified damages stemming from "loss of service, love and affection" after the surgeon removed Phillip Seaton's penis during what the plaintiffs say was supposed to have been a circumcision to treat inflammation.
Patterson maintains the amputation was necessary because he found cancer during the surgery. Seaton, sporting a long ponytail and gray beard, was seated at a table in the front of the courtroom alongside his attorney during jury selection. Shelby County Circuit Judge Charles Hickman instructed the jury not to discuss the case, and said the trial will begin Monday. Lawyers would not comment on the case because of Hickman's instruction to refrain from making public statements.
Kevin George, attorney for the Seatons, said in a 2008 Associated Press interview that the situation was not an emergency and, "It didn't have to happen that way." Clay Robinson, Patterson's attorney, has previously said the urologist had permission to perform any medical procedure deemed necessary. Robinson has said that Patterson "had no reasonable option" but to remove the cancer.
"Mr. Seaton's problem was not the surgery, it was the cancer," Robinson said in 2008. The Seatons also sued Jewish Hospital, where the surgery took place. The hospital settled for an undisclosed amount.