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Kentucky man sues over frostbite in VA hospital

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An Army veteran is seeking $10 million from the federal government, accusing a Veterans Administration nurse of repeatedly putting ice packs on his penis after surgery, causing frostbite and gangrene and ultimately leading to the organ’s partial amputation.

Michael D. Nash of Louisville filed suit Tuesday in US District Court in Louisville for what he calls medical malpractice.

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Nash, who served in the Army in 1968 and 1969, went to the VA hospital in Lexington for medically necessary surgery on his penis. Nash’s attorney, Larry Jones of Jones Ward law firm in Louisville, said that after the procedure a nurse packed Nash’s groin in ice for 19 hours.

‘‘It basically caused frostbite on his penis, which eventually caused gangrene,’’ Jones said. ‘‘In addition to robbing someone of their manhood, they’ve robbed him of the simple ability to urinate just like every other person who lives in this world.’’

A message left for the Veterans Administration was not immediately returned Tuesday morning.

Nash, 61, entered the VA hospital on Oct. 28, 2010, to have a penile implant and circumcision. A nurse applied ice packs to Nash’s groin to reduce pain and swelling. The problem arose when the medical staff allowed the ice packs to remain in place for about 19 hours.

Gangrene set it in within a few weeks, causing doctors to remove a five-inch section of Nash’s penis, a procedure for which he continues to receive medical care, Jones said. Nash will need reconstructive surgery that will allow him to urinate, Jones said.

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