A former prison inmate has been awarded close to a million dollars after suing the State of Hawaii for a mistreated scrotal infection that eventually led to castration.
The inmate, Gregory Slingluff, was serving time for drug charges at Halawa Correctional Facility in 2003 when he developed an infection of the scrotum. Despite extreme pain, which Slingluff described as so severe that he threatened to hang himself if he didn’t get medical attention, he was not examined right away.
When Slingluff finally did get medical treatment, the attending physician prescribed an inadequate dose of the wrong antibiotic. Despite treatment, within six days of his initial complaint Slingluff’s scrotum swelled to the size of a melon, and he reported extreme pain. Slinguff was then transferred to a medical center and underwent six operations that eventually resulted in castration.
After being released from prison, Slinguff sued the state for medical malpractice. The judge ruled that had the patient been transferred to the medical center earlier the amputation could have been avoided.
As a result of the infection, Slingluff has also endured multiple skin grafts, was hospitalized for two months, lost the ability to produce male hormones, experiences painful erections and is infertile. Although the patient has more reconstruction surgeries ahead, he will never be able to father children. “How to put a number on that is very difficult,” the judge noted.
The state argued that prison doctors are government employees and should therefore have immunity as other government employees do. The judge, however, rejected this argument, stating that “prisoners should not be denied recovery for the sole reason that the doctor or nurse is a government employee.”
The judge awarded Slingluff a total of $983,395 for his damages.