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Jury rules in favor of surgeon accused of amputating man's penis without permission

Dr. John Patterson testifies Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. AP Photo/Dylan Lovan

(CBS/AP) SHELBYVILLE, Ky, - On Wednesday, a Kentucky jury ruled in favor of a doctor accused of amputating part of a patient's penis without his consent. Phillip Seaton, a 64-year-old truck driver, filed the lawsuit against Dr. John Patterson, who performed the 2007 surgery that was initially meant to be a simple circumcision to relieve inflammation.

Patterson, a Frankfort urologist, testified that he saved Seaton's life when he amputated part of the man's penis after discovering a rare and deadly cancer.

The jury ruled unanimously against the claim that Patterson had failed to exercise proper care. It ruled 10-2 against the claim that Seaton hadn't consented to the amputation.

Seaton had been seeking more than $16 million in damages for "loss of service, love and affection."

Meanwhile, the Seatons' attorney, Kevin George, said in closing arguments, "Phillip has changed. He was mutilated. His manhood was taken."

George said he planned to appeal the decision on the grounds that a doctor is allowed to change a consent for surgery only if there is a danger of imminent death.

"There was no emergency, no reason to do it," George said of the amputation.

Seaton had testified that he had not been told prior to the surgery that it would be anything but a circumcision, and had even joked with his doctor about the procedure.

But Patterson testified Monday 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.

"What I saw was not a penis. What I saw was cancer," Patterson had testified.

Patterson said he removed less than an inch of Seaton's penis. The rest of the penis was amputated by another doctor later, Patterson's lawyer said.

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