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Man whose penis was cut off loses suit against surgeon

Phillip Seaton, penis amputee, circumcision
Deborah and Phillip Seaton of Waddy, Ky., sit at their trial, August 18, 2011. AP

(CBS/AP) First Phillip Seaton lost his penis. Now the 64-year-old truck driver has lost his case against the surgeon who "took his manhood."

A Kentucky jury returned with a verdict Wednesday against Seaton, who sued his urologist claiming the doctor amputated his penis without consent. Seaton had been seeking up to $16 million in damages for "loss of service, love and affection."

The jury ruled unanimously against the claim that Dr. John Patterson of Frankfort had failed to exercise proper care.

Seaton's attorney, Kevin George, said he planned to appeal the ruling on the grounds that a doctor can 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.

One urologist who testified for Seaton agreed.

"I couldn't identify any emergency situation that dictated an amputation," said Dr. David Benson, who added such a procedure was "psychologically debilitating."

Another urologist, Dr. William Monnig, testified that taking the time to consult with the family would have given the potentially lethal cancer time to spread.

Penile cancer strikes more than 1,300 men per year, killing 300. Uncircumcised men who fail to keep the area under their foreskin clean are at a higher risk. So are men with a history of genital warts.

Besides surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are potential treatments. Surgical options include a partial or total penectomy. In these cases, doctors create a new opening that allows urine to pass through the body.

How can men cut their risk of developing penile cancer? Circumcision, good personal hygiene if uncircumcised, and safe sex practices that reduce the risk of catching HPV.

The National Cancer Institute has more on penile cancer.