We have covered many surgical errors in previous posts. Surgical errors are distressingly common in Boston area hospitals and can result in the permanent disability of a patient. A surgical error can be the result of an inexperienced doctor, nurse negligence, wrong-side surgery, or an unauthorized amputation, among other things.

In one recent wrongful amputation case, a trucker sought $16 million in damages after a doctor cut off part of his penis. The jury failed to rule in the trucker’s favor however and said that the 64-year-old patient was not entitled to any money because they believed that his physician saved his life.

“We felt bad for the circumstances. (The patient) has our sympathy,” the jury forewoman said. “But at the same time, he’s alive today because this man did what he did, because this man performed the surgery.”

The man had gone to the doctor to seek a circumcision, but the doctor discovered a potentially deadly cancer during the surgery, which is why he cut off part of the man’s penis. The doctor decided not to wait because there were many possible complications that could have resulted in aborting the surgery. The man was unhappy with the doctor’s decision and sought damages for “loss of service, love and affection.”

“There will be larger ramifications if this case stands,” the patient’s attorney said. “There was no emergency, no reason to do it.”

The attorney also noted that the verdict may allow doctors to perform other unauthorized non-emergency surgeries with impunity.

Source: Courier-Journal, “Jury rules in favor of doctor who cut off part of Kentucky man’s penis,” Jason Riley, Aug. 25, 2011