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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville man has filed a federal lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages after he claims a Veterans Affairs nurse's negligence led to a significant portion of his penis being amputated.
According to the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville, the events took place in Oct. 2010 at the Lexington VA Medical Center.
The suit alleges that Michael D. Nash of Louisville was at the center for a penile implant replacement surgery and circumcision. Nash's attorney, Larry Jones, says the surgery itself went well, but adds the post-operative care did not.
The lawsuit claims the nurse placed "ice packs on Mr. Nash's penile area to reduce pain and swelling" but kept the ice in place for "19 hours."
"But 19 hours, we're talking about gross negligence," Jones said in an interview with WDRB News. "We're talking about something that never should have happened and the result was tragic.
"It has devastated this man. he is horribly upset and depressed," Jones added.
The suit claims that the alleged oversight caused Nash to experience "severe frostbite on his penis, which led to gangrene of his glans penis."
"Because of the frost bite and the gangrene on Mr. Nash's penis, he had to have a significant portion of his penis amputated," said Jones.
A five-inch section of Nash's penis had to be removed. Jones says the incident has left his client unable to have sex or even urinate normally.
Jones says the request for $10 million in damages is simply a ceiling figure, he expects his client could receive less. But on the other hand, Jones says, no amount of money could replace what his client lost.
"A penis amputation case is very difficult to quantify. $10 million would not be enough for me. $10 billion would not be enough for me to go through this."
The suit came about after Nash's federal tort claim was denied.
In July, the Department of Veterans Affairs wrote: "It it our opinion that there was no negligence."
A spokeswoman for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lexington declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit claims that the Lexington VA Medical Center acted in a negligent manner, and, "knew, or should have known, that the medical staff of the facility was not properly trained, and/or supervised, in a manner necessary to provide a level of care for Mr. Nash that met all applicable legal requirements; that demonstrated the standard and degree of care and skill required of competent health care providers; and was consistent with the expertise that the Defendant presented to the community at large."