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North Carolina man sues federal government over amputation

A 48-year-old former inmate has sued federal government, claiming that preventable delays by prison medical staff resulted in the amputation of his genitals. In the medical malpractice lawsuit, the North Carolina man claims that medical staff failed to test a lesion on his genitalia during his incarceration; the lesion was eventually found to be cancerous after it was too late to avoid an amputation.

The government asserts that it is not liable for the man's claim because of a third-party company's involvement with healthcare in the prison. Although the facility's primary medical staff is employed directly by the federal government, the Federal Bureau of Prisons contracted outside medical work to a middleman company. That same arrangement has also resulted in difficulty for a number of doctors trying to collect payment for treating inmate in North Carolina's Federal Correctional Complex. According to the North Carolina Medical Society, the middleman company recently stopped paying its contracted doctors for services rendered at the prison, resulting in over $8.3 million in unpaid debts.

The plaintiff claims he received treatment for an issue with his urethra while incarcerated in early 2009. Doctors performed a biopsy and reportedly found the man to be free of any serious health issues. However, the man then noticed a lesion on his genitals and asked medical staff to examine him, after which they misdiagnosed the lesion as herpes.

The man noticed the lesion becoming larger and more painful, but claimed that medical staff failed to address his concerns and often missed the few appointments they did schedule. When the plaintiff finally underwent another biopsy, he was found to be suffering from squamous cell carcinoma and a doctor amputated the affected area several months later.

The man argues that he is now unable to work, as the surgery removed several lymph glands in his legs and makes it difficult for him to stand or walk for extended periods of time. He is requesting unspecified damages.

Source: News Observer, "Fomer Butner inmate suing feds for malpractice over amputated genitalia," Jay Price, Oct. 27, 2012

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