DALLAS (Reuters) - An out-of-court settlement has been reached in the case of a North Texas man who woke up from bladder surgery only to find that doctors had amputated his penis without permission, lawyers say.
Terms of the out-of-court settlement were not disclosed but Hurshell Ralls, 67, had been seeking over $5 million (3 million pounds) in a civil suit he filed in Wichita Falls, Texas, against the two doctors who removed his penis. They did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement.
The hospital where the surgery was performed was also named in the suit.
Ralls' attorney Steve Briley said on Thursday that his client was having surgery in 1999 to remove a cancerous bladder, which would likely include the removal of his prostate gland.
He contends that doctors removed Ralls' penis after they mistakenly thought the cancer had spread to the male sex organ. He charged the doctors -- John S. Dryden and Farid Khoury -- with not seeking consent for the penis amputation and negligence.
He also said a pathology test indicated that Ralls' penile tissue was not cancerous.
Joel Steed, the attorney who represented the doctors, said Dryden had informed Ralls that his penis might have to be removed to treat the cancer he had in his bladder. He also questioned the results of the pathology tests on the amputated penis.
Steed said during surgery the two doctors saw tissue indicating the cancer spread from the bladder to the urethra, and they felt removing the penis would provide the best chance for Ralls' survival.
Hearings in the case before a jury of eight men and four women had started earlier this week and were underway when the out-of-court settlement was reached.
Ralls and his wife have not been able to recover from the anger and shock they felt after the surgery, his attorney said.
"Mr. Ralls was not informed that he was going to wake up and not have a penis," Briley said.