Teen in botched circumcision settles for RM150,000 in first of several suits

Marco Marziale, The Circumcision
Marco Marziale, The Circumcision

An out-of-court settlement has been reached by a teenage plaintiff and a government medical assistant who performed a botched circumcision on him when he was 10, yesterday. This case represents one of six defendants the 19-year-old has filed lawsuits against.

He was given RM150,000 (US$36,000) as compensation by the first defendant, a medical assistant attached to Kuala Lipis hospital in Pahang state, before the case was heard in the High Court.

Legal counsel for the plaintiff, Mohamad Zainuddin Abu Bakar, said the sum had been agreed to during discussions. A request by the defendant that his settlement be paid out in monthly installments of RM2,500 over the course of five years was rejected by the court. Terms of the settlement are now expected to be finalized on Aug. 5.

The other five defendants, one of which is the Malaysian government, are currently attempting to have the case tossed out. A motion by the plaintiff to have that application dismissed will be heard on Aug. 6 at the Court of Appeal.

In addition to the government, which has oversight of all national hospitals, the remaining defendants are a medical officer and a director at Kuala Lipis Hospital, a specialist, and a director at the Selayang Hospital.

The victim alleges that on Dec. 13, 2010, the medical assistant and another individual performed two circumcisions at a residence in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, with the knowledge and permission of both the Kuala Lipis Hospital medical officer named in the suit and the hospital’s director.

During the procedure, it is alleged that the medical assistant accidentally cut off the entire head of the boy’s penis, rather than simply his foreskin.

Realizing their error, the assistant attempted to sew the head back on, but again did not follow correct procedures. Alleging that he did not provide immediate treatment for the botched surgery, the teen’s mother, who filed the lawsuit on his behalf, alleged that the defendant did not inform any family member he had severed the penis. That negligence meant that by the time the boy reached Selayang Hospital for further treatment, it was too late to reattach the missing head.

It was only 35 days after the procedure, the mother realized that a large part of her son’s penis was missing.

One of the defendants in the case, a doctor from Selayang Hospital, had erroneously told the woman that her son’s penis head would grow as he got older. However, at 17, she explains that her son was still “incapacitated.”

After the traumatic experience, she says that her son is no longer the same person, has become withdrawn, and chooses only to socialize with younger children over his own peers.

In total, the mother claims that she has spent more than RM100,000 (US$25,000) in doctors and lawyer’s fees.

The plaintiff is seeking compensation, along with supplementary funds for the trauma. Previously, all the defendants had denied culpability.

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