Rodney Cotton is $750,000 dollars richer today, but the money he’s won from New York City will likely do little to help him get his life back on track. While money is helpful, sure, it won’t bring back what’s most important: the loss of penile function that Cotton suffered after spending time in a Manhattan jail.
The jail Cotton was in, often called The Tombs colloquially, is not exactly known for its excellent inmate care, and Cotton’s treatment was no exception. As a side effect of Risperdal, a drug he takes for bipolar disorder, Cotton suffers from priapism—persistent, painful erections—and was rebuked when he asked for help at the jail. After several visits to the infirmary, Cotton was told that the only thing that could really be done was to wait the erection out. He was also given an ice pack and some Tylenol, which is not exactly best practices when treating priapism. (The common treatment for the condition, if you were wondering, is much more involved and includes both needles and possible surgery.)
When he was eventually taken to see a third doctor, Cotton was quickly ushered to a local hospital and received emergency surgery—the insertion of a catheter—to deflate his erection. But the nightmare wasn’t over yet.
Stitches from the surgery, which were supposed to dissolve, apparently got stuck in the skin of Cotton’s penis, forcing doctors to surgically remove them (allegedly without anesthesia). The lawsuit contended that this caused Cotton to suffer “permanent injuries to his penis, including loss of function, mutilation of penis, continued pain, and discomfort.”
Cotton also alleges that he is now permanently impotent and, according to his lawsuit, the damage to his penis is so severe that he isn’t a candidate for any sort of prosthetic. Cotton is not only worried about having to change his whole life to adjust for his loss of genital functioning, but is also concerned that he won’t be able to keep his girlfriend sexually satisfied.
Vice reports that he’s been awarded $125,000 for every day he spent suffering the uncontrollable erections, and that Cotton plans to move to Atlanta, GA to be with his daughter. He’d prefer, however, to just have his penis back.
“If I had the choice between the reward and having my manhood restored,” he told theDaily News, “I’d have my manhood restored in a heartbeat.”
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