A circumcision expert provided key testimony in the trial of a midwife who cut off part of a baby’s penis.
The Botched Circumcision
In October 2013, Certified Nurse Midwife Melissa Jones performed a circumcision on the 18-day-old son of Stacie Willis, who is known as Baby D. During the circumcision, the child’s penis was caught in a Mogen clamp and the tip of the glans was amputated. Dr. Brian Register, an OB/GYN who was the supervising physician, was called to stop the hemorrhaging. A Certified Nurse Midwife and owner of the clinic where the procedure was performed, Anne Sigouin, was also called to assist.
Sigouin advised Dr. Register to call the boy’s pediatrician, Dr. Abigail Kamishlian. Dr. Kamishlian advised Willis to take her son home and to visit and emergency room if the bleeding began again.
No one notified Willis of the amputation or that the severed glans tissue was preserved in saline solution in the clinic’s lab refrigerator.
Willis took her son to a branch of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she learned that Baby D had an incomplete circumcision and a significant laceration to his glans.
For the next five years, Baby D would undergo four major surgeries that failed to correct the amputation. Baby D is permanently disfigured with medical bills in the tens of thousands.
Willis filed suit against Melissa Jones, Anne Sigouin, Dr. Brian Register, Life Cycle Pediatrics, LLC, Life Cycle OB/GYN, LLC, Dr. Abigail Kamishlian, and Daffodil Pediatric and Family Medical Services, LLC claiming medical malpractice, negligence, gross negligence, negligent hiring, retention, training and supervision, fraud, constructive fraud, fraudulent concealment, and aggravated battery.
Expert Witness Testimony
During trial, Dr. Fred Kogen provided expert witness testimony. Dr. Kogen is a General Practitioner (G.P.) and mohel, which means he is trained to perform the Jewish ritual of circumcision. Dr. Kogen gave testimony that demonstrated to the jury the proper way to conduct a circumcision.
Dr. Kogen explained that there is nothing else on the body similar to glans tissue and if it is severed, everything should be done to save and reattach it. Dr. Kogen testified that there is only a narrow window of 12 hours during which the tissue is viable.
Dr. Kogen said, “If I had a piece of glans that was taken off, there’s no doubt in my mind I would do the best I can to save that, and I would get in touch with someone who could use it to potentially help this baby.”
He continued, “I’ve performed 7,000 circumcisions and this has never happened to me. I’ve never had a complication like this. . . . This is something that — it’s not even a complication. It’s an injury that should never, ever occur if the technique is done properly.”
A Clayton County jury awarded Baby D $31 million in damages. The total includes $780,000 for past and future medical expenses, as well as $30 million in past, present and future pain and suffering. The jury consisted of seven women and five men.