Your Penis Is Worth Nothing In Shelbyville, Kentucky

Mostly illiterate Kentucky truck driver Phillip Seaton (pictured) went into the hospital to get an adult circumcision. When he woke up, he found his entire penis had been lopped off. The aptly-named Dr. John Peterson says that “when he cut [Seaton’s] foreskin, the tip of the penis had the appearance of rotten cauliflower” indicating a cancer and that removing it saved Seaton’s life. He also says that Seaton had signed a consent form giving him “latitude to deal with unforeseen circumstances during the surgery.”

But Seaton says the consent only applies to “dangers of imminent death” and says he should have been consulted about his options before its removal. And so he sued the urologist for $16 million for “loss of service, love and affection.” However, a Shelbyville jury ruled against Seaton causing him to lose his case along with his penis.

He plans to appeal. Dr. Patterson said after the verdict, “I think we’re feeling pretty good.” Ummm… who is this “we” exactly?

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  • JayKay

    Typical. American society views men, and their genitals especially, as expendable.

    Now if a woman went in for a routine surgery and woke up with her clitoris cut out or her breasts removed, all hell would break loose.

  • Hyhybt

    @JayKay: Which would you rather lose, your penis or your life? That’s assuming the doctor is telling the truth… but then, the usual thing to do is to send off the removed part for testing.

  • kurt_t

    There’s got to be more to this story. Sounds like the surgeon found penile cancer, but how could he have not known about the cancer prior to the surgery?

  • christopher di spirito

    This was major surgery and the patient had the right to a second opinion when it came to treatment. Surely, even in Kentucky, a second opinion before performing such a radical procedure is usual and customary?

  • Hyhybt

    So… has anybody else been getting “Server Error” type messages every time you try to post a comment the last couple of days?

    @kurt_t: The patient might not have recognized it as cancer. Might not even have been suspicious. On the other hand, the fact that he doesn’t like that it was removed even *after* being told it was cancerous suggests that he might have known (or at least suspected) already and didn’t want to do anything about it.

    In which case he should have said something about it in advance.

  • Hyhybt

    @christopher di spirito: That depends. Under normal circumstances, yes, get a second opinion… but the article has it right. If something turns up *during surgery* that can be gone ahead and taken care of right then, that’s the thing to do. A second, separate operation would be a lot harder on the body, not to mention more expense, and that’s not even considering that during the time it takes for the area to heal, then to find another doctor, get an appointment, finally talk yourself into getting it taken care of, etc it can have spread.

  • Jimmy Fury

    So… They went and performed surgery without even a cursory examination beforehand?

    Is there anyone here in the medical profession that can explain that? Don’t doctors ya know… check things out before they put you under and start cutting? Even if the procedure is voluntary and cosmetic?

  • Ian

    Why is John Peterson an apt name?

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    @Jimmy Fury:

    What Jimmy said.

    Why would the surgeon just assume it’s cancer, without a biopsy?

    There have been too many examples of surgeon fucking up during a surgery, and then covering up their mistake, for me to beleive the surgeon.

  • Jimmy Fury

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: hell I hadn’t even though about a biopsy but now that you mention it…

    I was just surprised that, as I understand the doctor’s story, they never even bothered to *look* at his penis until after he was anesthetized and the circumcision was done. I really can’t comprehend any other way for them to not notice how it looked until *after* they had cut him. Especially given the description…

  • the crustybastard

    This article is false.

    The physician, Dr. John Patterson — not Peterson — performing the circumcision intended to treat Mr. Seaton’s “inflammation” removed only his cancer-riddled dickhead. Another surgeon, in a separate procedure, removed the entire cancerous organ.

    Dr. Patterson’s failure was in refusing to consult Mr. Seaton’s wife, given that Mr. Seaton was unconscious when the cancer was discovered. “My impression was she would not be someone I would ask what he would want.”

    So the headline really should read, “When you’re unconscious on an operating table, your wife’s opinion is worth nothing in Shelbyville, Kentucky.”

  • of course

    This was arrogant.

    Sure, in an emergency, a doctor might have to take radical action on an unconscious patient — amputate a smashed or frostbitten leg — or, I guess, penis.

    But this is cancer. It’s not going to kill him in the day or so it takes to let him recover and talk to him about it.

  • kurt_t

    @Hyhybt sorry, ambiguous pronoun. I meant I didn’t understand why the surgeon didn’t find the cancer prior to the surgery. The crustybastard’s comment seems to confirm my suspicion that there was more to the story. I feel bad for the patient, but my understanding is with penile cancer, you always end up with some degree of amputation, and I guess it’s one of those cancers that can spread pretty rapidly. Another good reason not to smoke. (Big risk factor.)

  • Jeff

    @JayKay: I agree actually.

  • Jeff in NYC

    @Hyhybt: Yes, I get them every time I post, and am waiting to get one right….now….

  • Jean

    @JayKay: Yep, women get all the breaks and men just pay and pay. It’s so awful when your genitals are expendable rather than your entire gender.

  • xander

    @hyhybt : Yes, I’m getting the server error messages too, since at least Monday. I thought it was just this tardtastic browser of mine.
    @the crustybastard : thanks for the clarification on the surgeries. To my mind, it made no sense for a general surgeon — or urologist — to immediately operate on the cancer without an oncology consult. // The adult circumcision also strikes me as odd, unless the man were joining a temple or mosque.

  • mgreehan

    @JayKay: This is off-subject, but as you made that point, I’m inclined to say I disagree entirely. America views women as expendable, their bodies seen as a plaything for straight men, while the penis is held totally sacred. Everything – movies, music, commercials, billboards, magazines, virtually every form of media – everything caters to the straight man’s penis. This case is not representative of America’s attitude toward the male body, just a man who felt his rights were violated.

  • Opheliac

    What the fuck? That’s just horrible… And I actually agree with the above comments that point out how unfair it is that male genitals are treated as expendable, while female ones are precious. And I’m saying this as a feminist who loves the pussy, mind you. It’s weird; the female body is made for straight men and worth nothing other than sex, while the vulva is a thing to be treated with care. Which is true, of course, but it’s the same thing with penises.

  • JayKay


    Complete bullshit.

    When there’s a disaster it’s “women and children first.”

    When there’s a war, who gets sent to the front lines first? If the draft was re-instated, who would get drafted first?

    When was the last time the media paid attention to a man who’d gone missing? Not a man and his wife, just a man. When was the last time a missing man received the same level of attention as a missing white woman?

    What kind of attention does prostate cancer receive VS. breast cancer?

    When a woman gets murdered it’s a national news story. When a man gets murdered it might be a 30 second feature on the local affiliate.

    You hear plenty of complaints about all the women being killed in slasher movies, even though Jason’s body count is overwhelmingly male. In video games you can run around killing as many men as you want, but a lot of games penalize you for attacking a woman.

    Hit a woman in the vagina? HATE CRIME! Hit a man in the balls? Get on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Pain being inflicted on mens’ genitals is a laugh riot, pain being inflicted on womens’ genitals is a tragedy. Just look at the bizarre hero worship surrounding Lorena Bobitt.

    A few weeks ago a woman cut off her husband’s penis and shoved it in a garbage disposal after he had the audacity to say he wanted a divorce. Sharon Osbourne and her fellow co-host harpies on that terrible CBS ripoff of The View went on TV and laughed, and giggled, and joked about it while the female audience cheered them on. They had to issue a “sorry if you were offended” apology, and faced no further repercussions. Imagine that a man had tied up his wife and raped her with a power drill, and then a group of men went on their TV show and joked about it for an audience of cackling men. Do you honestly think that show wouldn’t be canceled by the time they got back from their next commercial break?

  • the crustybastard

    @JayKay: “When there’s a disaster it’s ‘women and children first.'”

    In theory. In practice, notsomuch.

  • Jeffrey

    The case was decided yesterday, and the doctor won the case.

  • damon459

    According to the full article “The doctor said he decided to amputate less than an inch of the penis after he found potentially deadly cancer during surgery in 2007. The rest of the penis was taken off later by another doctor.
    Patterson testified that when he cut the foreskin, the tip of the penis had the appearance of rotten cauliflower, indicating cancer. A pathologist later testified that tests confirmed the diagnosis.” He signed a waiver giving the doctor the ability to do anything medically necessary and if you do a bit of research surgery is the first course of treatment followed by radiation and or chemotherapy. I agree with this doctor it’s not like he just hacked this guy to pieces cause it seemed like a fun thing to do at the time. Had the doctor not done this and the man died his wife would have sued anyway some people are just sue happy.

  • hephaestion

    Shelbyville/Shelby County, Kentucky, has always been known as one of the worst speed traps in the South. Go 2 mph over the speed limit and get an expensive fine. Finally they are known for something else.

  • Ambidextrous

    JayKay should leave his misogyny the door. It’s clouding his judgement.

  • Schlukitz


    Yes. It just happened to me as well.

Comments are closed.