Gregory Slingluff, a former inmate in a Hawaii high-security correctional facility, has been awarded $983,395.29 by the state for damages suffered when an infection on his scrotum was inadequately treated by prison doctors, leading to castration.
In 2003, while serving time for a drug offense, Slingluff complained of scrotal pain. The doctors didn't examine him right away, only prescribing a relatively small dosage of antibiotics when the condition worsened. Six days after his first complaint, Slingluff's scrotum was melon-sized. He underwent six surgeries, including the castration, before returning to prison.
Now out of prison, Slinguff sued the state for malpractice and a Hawaii Circuit Court agreed that Slinguff's treatment fell below the standard of care. The Court said that, in addition to the six surgeries, Slinguff suffered the additional damages of "amputation of his scrotal sac, multiple skin grafts ... , hospitalization for two months, infertility, loss of production of male hormones, painful sexual erections" as well as future damages relating to lost earnings and medical costs.
Slingluff faces more surgeries for reconstruction, but will never regain his fertility or normal testosterone production.
"How to put a number on that is very difficult," Victoria Marks, the Circuit judge, noted.
The defendants had argued that, as government employees, prison doctors should be awarded immunity, but the Court decided in favor of Slingluff because, in its words, "Prisoners should not be denied recovery 'for the sole reason that the doctor or nurse is a government employee.'"
"From a prison inmate to a multi-millionaire," Slingluff's attorney, Richard Turbin, said, "everybody is equal under the law and is treated the same."