Surgeons reattached a man’s penis over the weekend after his girlfriend, apparently upset over a pending breakup, cut it off with a kitchen knife, said police in Anchorage, Alaska.
A city wastewater utility worker recovered the penis from a toilet down which the woman had flushed it. It was rushed to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where doctors performed reattachment surgery early Sunday morning, according to police reports.
Police said the knife attack occurred during an argument involving the 44-year-old man wanting out of the relationship. The woman drove the man to the hospital after the attack.
Police arrested Kim Tran, 35, Sunday morning at the bloodied home where the attack occurred. She was arraigned Sunday afternoon on charges of domestic violence assault and tampering with evidence and remains in jail with no bail set.
Neither drugs nor alcohol were involved in the attack, but it did involve a triangle of relationships, according to police spokeswoman Anita Shell.
The man wanted to break up with Tran, but she resisted that idea, Shell said. The two were arguing about the issue sometime before midnight Saturday, but at some point they decided to have sex.
After he allowed Tran to tie his arms to the window handle above the bed, she pulled the kitchen knife and severed his penis, Shell said.
Tran flushed the penis down the toilet, untied the man and drove him to the hospital, according to police reports. She parked in a no-parking zone while she walked into the emergency room with the victim, who was conscious and able to walk, but shaking and in shock, Shell said.
After finding a nurse, Tran said she was leaving to move her car but drove home instead, Shell said.
Police rushed to the home and found her cleaning up the bloody scene. A trail of blood stretched through the house, Shell said.
Shell said she’s only heard of one other such incident — the famous Lorena Bobbitt case in 1993 in Virginia.
Bobbitt cut off her abusive husband’s penis, then drove away and flung it out her car window. The penis was located and reattached. But Bobbitt claimed she had been raped and abused, and Shell said physical abuse did not appear to be a part of the Anchorage case.
“This was, if anything, more of a mental anguish,” Shell said.
The surgery used to reattach a penis is the same kind of surgery used to reattach a severed finger but far less common, said Dr. Sarah Troxel, a local plastic surgeon.
The procedure is called micro-vascular surgery, and it requires reattaching blood vessels, the urethra and other parts under a microscope. She went through training for microsurgery at Stanford.
With fingers, “if the blood vessels take, and the finger doesn’t die …with a good surgeon and a clean cut, it’s not unusual that they survive.”
But in the case of penises, she said, the function of the urethra after the surgery could be a problem.
“I’d say it’s more likely that it might not work very well,” she said.