Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid |

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

Imagine going into a hospital for a circumcision at the age of 60-something like Phillip Seaton, a truck driver from Kentucky, did back in 2007. That’d be a little weird, wouldn’t it? After six decades with your little friend, he’d suddenly be getting a new face, you’d probably have to refrain from sex or touching yourself for an uncomfortably long time as you healed, and someone would be mutilating your penis with a sharp object. I bet the idea would take some getting used to.

I’m sure Seaton was a little nervous before he went under the knife, but he probably figured the worst that could happen was that his penis would hurt a lot and his wife, Deborah, might not recognize it anymore. It’s a circumcision, after all. It’s a pretty routine procedure, not something to be concerned about, right? He’d even be getting everything done at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital (I kid you not), so he knew they knew how to do circumcisions correctly.

Imagine, then, how Seaton must have felt when he awoke from sedation after the operation to find … wait for it … wait for it … his penis had been amputated! I don’t know about Seaton, but I’d be wondering how the hell I ended up with Lorena Bobbitt as a mohel. I mean, who on Earth would give that woman a license to snip the heads off wieners in the first place?

Actually, it turns out Bobbitt was not the culprit, nor was it Catherine Kieu Becker, who last month lopped off her husband’s member and threw it in a garbage disposal in California. Apparently, Seaton’s amputation was performed by Dr. John Patterson (not a Jewish name, by the way), who did it because he found life-threatening cancer in Seaton’s penis while performing the circumcision and needed to chop the penis off immediately to save Seaton’s life.

I don’t know if I’d buy that story if I were Seaton. He’d needed the circumcision because of inflammation in his foreskin, and, sure, that could have been a symptom of the cancer, but are you telling me Dr. Patterson couldn’t have waited until Seaton was awake to ask if he minded having his penis cut off? I think that’s the kind of thing that warrants a little discussion first, don’t you? At least give Seaton a chance to say goodbye to the little fellow.

I think I might have some medical questions, too.

For instance, how do you just suddenly “see” cancer in someone’s penis when all you’re supposed to be doing is a circumcision? Presumably, Dr. Patterson examined the penis when he recommended circumcision to begin with. Where was the cancer then? And what kind of cancer moves so fast that you have mere seconds to lop off the infected penis before it kills someone?

(At this point, I would normally make a joke about how “Attack of the Killer Penis” would be a great name for a porn/horror movie, but I’m sure someone has already made that film, so I’ll refrain.)

Given all that, I can totally understand – and I imagine you can, as well – why Seaton sued Dr. Patterson for malpractice. In his lawsuit, Seaton claimed that his penis had been removed without his consent and without giving him a chance to seek a second opinion. He asked for $16 million for what he termed “loss of service, love and affection.” (I’m guessing the “service” part was inserted by Deborah.)

In any event, earlier this week, a jury ruled against Seaton, despite being shown four pictures of Seaton’s crotch as his lawyer explained, “You can see there’s nothing there.” The jurors decided unanimously that Dr. Patterson had exercised proper care and that Seaton had signed a document authorizing necessary treatment in unforeseen circumstances.

It’s not all bad news for Seaton, however, as a separate lawsuit against Jewish Hospital was settled out of court. So at least he’s got something to show for having nothing to show.

And if I might give Seaton a little something else to take away from the whole incident, it would be this thought: You have my condolences on your loss, Mr. Seaton, but if you were really basing your “love and affection” on having a penis, you may have some deeper issues to resolve. Now that you don’t have one anymore, see if you can make your emotions about something a little less superficial.

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