|Deborah and Phillip Seaton|
While the Shelby County jury ruled 10-2 in agreement that Seaton had not authorized proper consent, that same jury ruled unanimously against a claim that Patterson had failed to exercise proper care.
While looking for the fungal infection, Patterson said he found the area underneath the foreskin to have the appearance of rotten cauliflower.
“What I saw was not a penis," Patterson testified. "What I saw was cancer.”
Patterson removed less than an inch during the surgery. After further tests, a different doctor later took the rest of Seaton's penis.
Seaton's lawyer, Kevin George, said that his client plans to appeal this ruling, and that "unless the patient's health is in immediate danger, unless he's in danger of dying immediately on the table" Patterson should have awakened Seaton to request his consent to remove the cancerous part of his penis. Medical experts testifying on both sides of the case were inconclusive in determining if Patterson was in the right or in the wrong. Experts arguing against Patterson stated that Seaton was not in any immediate danger and thus should have been consulted beforehand; experts arguing for Patterson disagreed, saying that removing the cancer (proven after, in fact, be malignant) might have saved Seaton's life.
Seaton, who has limited reading abilities, signed a consent form for the surgery, which Patterson's lawyer said his client the latitude to deal with unforeseen circumstances during the surgery.
“He was mutilated,” attorney Kevin George said during closing arguments that took about as long as the jury deliberations. “His manhood was taken.” Seaton and his wife of thirty-five years, Deborah, sued for $16 million in damages for “loss of service, love, and affection.”