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A Man Won £500,000 Damages After Suffering a Six-Day Erection in Jail

That's a lot of money, but it can't buy him a working dick.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Rodney Cotton, a former inmate of the downtown Manhattan jail usually referred to as "The Tombs," has won a payout from New York City after alleging in a lawsuit that a six-day erection left his penis permanently damaged in 2011.

Cotton was awarded a $750,000 (£486,000) settlement, but rather than trying to repair his damaged schlong, the Brooklyn man plans to join his daughter in Atlanta, the New York Daily News reported Monday.


According to the paper, Cotton was serving time related to violation of parole after being busted in 2008 for illegal possession of prescription drugs. He'd been taking the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal for bipolar disorder, and one of the drug's side-effects is priapism – AKA a painful, persistent erection. The lawsuit charged that Cotton made numerous complaints about his erection, but that after a couple of visits to the jail's infirmary, he was told to stick it out with nothing more than some Tylenol and an ice pack.

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 anaesthesia). 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."

According to the suit, the botched surgery also rendered Cotton impotent. And because his erection was left untreated for so long, the damage went beyond what prosthetics might repair.

"I have to readjust my manhood," Cotton told DNAInfo in June. "I have to readjust myself because I'm not even whole." He added that he worries about his relationship with his girlfriend, whom he fears he can no longer satisfy.

Cotton was awarded $125,000 for each of the six days he endured the erection without medical care. New York City has since ended its contract with Corizon, the healthcare provider whose doctors were originally listed as co-defendants in the lawsuit. The for-profit's problems allegedly go well beyond prisoners with obscenely lengthy erections, and according to the suit, the second doctor that treated Cotton was Dr Landis Barnes, who's being sued in a separate case for telling an inmate to throw his severed finger in the trash.

Despite the hefty payday, Cotton, who originally sued for $10 million before the city cut a deal just as the case was set to go to trial, insists the payout hasn't done him justice.

"If I had the choice between the reward and having my manhood restored," he told the Daily News, "I'd have my manhood restored in a heartbeat."