October 4, 2012

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Part of what makes this advice so universally applicable is its simplicity. Sure, there’s something to be said for improvements and innovation, but by and large, when a thing, no matter how large or small is working well, there’s no need to go fiddling around with it.

Just ask Michael D Nash of Louisville, Kentucky.

Nash, an Army vet who served for 2 years in ’68 and ’69, is now suing the federal government for $10 million, claiming a VA hospital in Lexington did such a bad job “fixing” his penis that he now has to have even more reconstructive surgery just to urinate like a man again. After admitting himself into a Lexington hospital to have an implant installed and a little foreskin nipped off the top, Nash claims a nurse at the hospital kept stacking ice on his junk for 19 hours straight following the surgery in order to keep the swelling down. This constant “cold shoulder” as it were, led to a wicked case of frostbite which later turned gangrenous, an infection which later had to be removed…along with 5 inches of his penis.

Nash’s Lawyer, Larry Jones, explained it this way: “It basically caused frostbite on his penis, which eventually caused gangrene.”

“In addition to robbing someone of their manhood, they’ve robbed him of the simple ability to urinate just like every other person who lives in this world.”

With all due respect, Mr. Jones, but I think there might be other people in this world who can’t urinate like you and I. I digress…

“Any doctor who is monitoring the care of their patient is not going to allow someone to have constant treatment with ice … for more than 2-3 hours,” said Jones.

“It’s about the most blatant medical malpractice error one could make. It’s a senseless tragedy that should never have happened.”

Nash’s $10 million isn’t his first attempt at restitution, however. He was first denied compensation under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which prevented him from suing the government until the claim was finally resolved. This claim was reviewed and rejected by the VA in July, leading Jones and Nash to seek their millions from the federal government.

“It is our opinion that there was no negligence on the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs or any of its employees in connection with the claimed loss; therefore your claim is denied,” wrote Melinda Frick, the VA’s counsel in Nash’s rejection letter.

According to Jones, Nash would have stopped there if it weren’t for the fact that 5 inches were missing from his penis.

“If this was someone who had a little frostbite and a little burning for a couple of days, there would be no suit,” explained Jones.

“I would not wish this on my worst enemy.”

A couple things about this story:

As stated earlier in this piece, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Associated Press calls Nash’s surgery “medically necessary.” While there may be some edge-case which would make an implant and circumcision “necessary,” this sounds more like voluntary and extreme reconstructive surgery. They make pills for these kinds of things, you know.

Finally, another piece of sage advice: If, for some reason, you or a loved one are ever in a hospital and it feels like a nurse is causing frostbite on a very sensitive and special area of your body, it’s ok to voice your concerns. While we don’t know if Nash did express his pain or discomfort, it is safe to assume that, for whatever reason, Nash allowed this to go on for as long as id did. He didn’t remove the ice packs, after all.

A man losing 5-inches of his penis is a sad thing, especially considering the average American penis is just over 5 inches, or 12.9 centimeters (larger numbers make it sound bigger.) A man suing the government after being unwilling to remove ice from his crotch after 5 or more hours, however, is just plain confusing.

Image Credit: nito / Shutterstock

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