A disputed penile amputation in Alabama, USA, faintly echoes an epidemic of penile amputations that happened in the 1970s in Thailand. WVTM television in Birmingham, Alabama, reports:
Attorney for doctors sued in penis amputation lawsuit seeks dismissal, calls case ‘baseless, irresponsible’
BIRMINGHAM, AL – Court documents filed today call into question allegations surrounding the amputation of a Birmingham man’s penis last month. The attorney representing the doctors sued in the case has filed for dismissal after testimonies reveal that neither performed a circumcision on the patient.
The lawsuit was filed July 22, 2014 and alleged that while in for a circumcision procedure that the plaintiff’s penis was amputated without his consent or explanation as to why it occurred….
The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize for public health was awarded to Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde, for the medical techniques described in their report “Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam” — techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck. [REFERENCE: “Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam,” by Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde, American Journal of Surgery, 1983, no. 146, pp. 376-382.] At the Ig Nobel ceremony, Nobel laureate Eric Maskin read aloud the acceptance speech sent by the winners, who were unable to travel to Harvard.
BONUS: It is generally believed that, directly or indirectly, publicity about the Thai epidemic inspired the 1993 events in the United States that came to be known as “the Bobbitt case.”
UPDATE (July 30): Investigator Ivan Oransky alerts us to a newly published study:
“Penile Prostheses and the Litigious Patient: A Legal Database Review,” Peter L. Sunaryo, Marc Colaco and Ryan Terlecki [pictured here], Journal of Sexual Medicine, epub July 29, 2014. The authors are at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Wake Forest School of Medicine. They examined 40 cases:
“There were 23 (57.5%) cases that were found in favor of the defendant, while 17 (42.5%) cases led to indemnity payment to the plaintiff including two cases (5.0%) that were settled out of court and 15 (37.5%) favoring the plaintiff in front of a jury. The mean settlement received was $335,500 compared with the mean indemnity award of $831,050 for verdicts decided in favor of the plaintiff (P = 0.68). The most common breach of duty was error in surgical decision making, present in 20 cases (48.8%). Informed consent was an issue in 13 filings (31.7%), and postoperative infection was seen in 13 cases (31.7%). In cases that identified the type of implant used, 58.3% were malleable implants, and 41.7% were inflatable devices.”