When he lost his penis to a blood infection, Malcolm MacDonald underwent a groundbreaking procedure to have a new one grown on his arm, before it could be grafted to his groin. However, medical delays have left the 45-year-old with the penis attached to his forearm for the last four years.
MacDonald told The Sun he was “completely gutted” when his penis fell off in 2014, after an infection in his perineum – otherwise known as the “gooch” or “grundle” – turned into sepsis.
“Because I’d been through the devastation of knowing I was going to lose it, I just picked it up and put it in the bin,” MacDonald, from Norfolk in the east of the UK, explained to the paper. “I went to the hospital and they said the best they could do for me was to roll the remaining stump up like a little sausage roll. It was heartbreaking.”
The father of two turned to alcohol, feeling like “a shadow of a man” for the two years after losing his penis, until his GP referred him to Professor David Ralph, a phallus construction expert at University College Hospital London (UCHL).
Dr Ralph – who, in 2018, created a “bionic penis” for a British man who was born without one – told MacDonald he would be able to build him a penis out of skin from his left arm. In a £50,000 NHS-funded procedure, doctors were able to roll this skin – containing nerves and blood vessels – into the shape of a penis, before adding a urethra and two tubes that will allow MacDonald to pump the appendage into an erection.
The plan was to attach the penis to Mr MacDonald’s groin in 2018, two years after it had been grafted to his arm. However, he had to miss the scheduled operation due to illness, and the surgery kept being pushed back for other reasons.
A UCHL spokesperson told The Sun that MacDonald had missed or cancelled a number of appointments to complete the procedure pre-lockdown. “We will try to rearrange his surgery as soon we are able, now that services are gradually returning closer to normal following lockdown,” they added.
“The delays have been hard to deal with,” MacDonald told The Sun, adding that he’s unable to run because the penis “waggles about”, and that he cannot go swimming or wear a short-sleeved shirt.
However, he did say, “When I saw it on my arm for the first time, I was so, so proud,” telling the paper, “I took to it so much I nicknamed it ‘Jimmy’. That was what me and my mates called each other growing up, and this penis was definitely my new mate.”
“Not having a penis felt awful. It’s most men’s worst fear,” he said. “For me, I was never worried about sex, because I already had two children. It was always more about my self-confidence and simple things like using the loo.”
"I can’t lie, having a penis on your arm for four years is a really strange thing to live with,” he added. “But I am determined this penis will be ultimately used for what it was built for.”