WILMINGTON - The wife and stepson of a man who experienced an eight-month erection after his penile implant malfunctioned testified at his medical malpractice trial today that his unusual condition affected the entire family.
Daniel Metzgar's 18-year-old stepson, Alexander King, said his father, with whom he had a close relationship, became distant after the December 2009 surgery and wouldn't attend his events. And, the teen said, he didn't feel comfortable bringing friends home.
"I was - I'm sorry," he said, turning to his father, "highly embarrassed."
Metzgar, 44, and his wife, Donna, are suing Dr. Thomas J. Desperito and his medical group, claiming the urologist botched the operation, in which a three-piece inflatable implant was installed.
In New Castle County Superior Court on Monday, Metzgar testified that his scrotum swelled to the size of a volleyball, and his erection would not subside. Finally, the device was removed in August 2010 after tubing punctured Metzgar's scrotum during a family trip to Niagara Falls.
"I couldn't stop looking at it. It was just so big," said Donna Metzgar, who separated from her husband briefly following that emergency surgery.
"What was so big?" asked the Metzgars' lawyer, Michael C. Heyden.
"His testicles," she replied.
Defense attorney Colleen D. Shields, who said Monday that Daniel Metzgar should have known shortly after the surgery that something was wrong, questioned his wife about whether she thought her husband's condition looked normal in the months following the implant.
"Well, how would I know?" she said. "I don't have a penis."
Regarding their separation, she said to her husband as she tried to patch up their issues: "I don't not love you because you don't have a penis."
The couple reunited and Metzgar underwent a second implant surgery by a different doctor. But, she said, the sex isn't the same. There's substantial scarring and, she said, "a lot of things going on down there."
Daniel Metzgar, who took the stand Monday, testified that he opted for an implant after less invasive methods failed to treat his erectile dysfunction, which the Newark truck driver attributed to years of being diabetic.
The plaintiff rested its case before lunch, and the defense is expected to begin calling witnesses this afternoon.