A 38-year-old Burmese man was awarded US$2 million on Wednesday after a circumcision went wrong and resulted in a vasectomy.
Zaw Zaw, who doesn’t speak English and was relying on an interpreter, went to the Iowa Clinic in December 2015 after being referred for the procedure.
On the day of his surgery in January 2016, Dr. Kevin Birusingh performed a vasectomy instead after a major lapse in communication, WhoTV reports.
“In four places on the referral form, it said circumcision, circumcision, circumcision, circumcision,” Zaw’s lawyer, Marc Harding, told the broadcast station. “The interpreter filled out intake forms and said, ‘We filled out that it was to cut the skin.'”
“That particular document ended up being shredded.”
Harding argued that it was Birusingh’s job to make sure Zaw understood what was happening, adding that they’d tried to reach a settlement before the trial, to no avail.
“They blamed him. They said he should’ve known we were wrong in the way we were doing it and pointing the finger at him the whole way through,” Harding said.
The hefty verdict agreed on by the jury said that the doctor bears 70 per cent of the blame, while Zaw is accountable for 30 per cent.
“Dr. Bireusingh, he was the professional,” Harding stated. “He was the one that should have made sure because he was the one cutting on the body.”
A statement shared with Global News by the Iowa Clinic’s chief marketing officer Amy Hilmes said: “We are grateful for the jury’s hard work and are pleased that no fault in this matter was assigned to The Iowa Clinic. It is important to note, the physician involved in this case has not been on staff with the clinic for more than a year.”
Hilmes added that the US$1.4 million assigned to the doctor — his percentage of the blame — will be paid by his insurance.
This isn’t the first time the Iowa Clinic has been in headlines, however.
Earlier this year, a man won US$12.2 million after the clinic misdiagnosed him with prostate cancer, and removed his prostate as a result.
Polk County jury ordered the clinic to pay Rickie Huitt, 65, millions after they mixed up samples with those of someone who tested positively for the cancer.
He suffered nerve damage and was left impotent after the procedure.