MANHATTAN — A man who claimed he was left impotent after a six-day long erection went untreated while he was imprisoned at Manhattan Detention Center settled with the city for $750,000 on Monday.
Rodney Cotton, who was in the Manhattan Detention Complex in 2011 for violating parole, had priapism — a painful, constant erection caused by his antidepressant medication — according to a lawsuit filed in August 2011 in State Supreme Court.
Cotton, 51, was left alone and crying in his solitary cell without proper help for six days, DNAinfo New York first reported.
Contrary to standard practice, jail doctors did not send him to the hospital until he required surgery and was rendered impotent, the lawsuit said.
“I have to readjust my manhood,” Cotton told DNAinfo New York. “I have to readjust myself because I’m not even whole.”
Cotton had been on Rikers for three weeks when his painful erection began on July 4, 2011, his lawyers said. Extended, painful erections are a known, but uncommon, side effect of Risperdal, a drug Cotton was using to treat depression.
After four hours, Cotton asked to go to the jail clinic, but a guard told him he would have to wait until after the holiday, the lawsuit said. Cotton eventually lied and said he had chest pains in order to see a doctor, he said.
The first doctor he saw, Dr. Craig Metroka, gave him Tylenol and ice packs instead of sending him to the hospital, according to documents. The second, Dr. Landis Barnes, gave him the same treatment the next day, the lawsuit says.
The doctors worked for Corizon, the embattled for-profit company that runs health care in city jails and has been criticized by the state and advocates for providing inadequate care to inmates.
"It was best for the city to end the litigation," said the City Law Department spokesman, Nicholas Paolucci. The trial was scheduled to start Monday.
The settlement comes just a month after DNAinfo reported that the city decided not to renew Corizon's contract, which expires at the end of 2015.
Neither Cotton nor his lawyer could be reached for immediate comment following the settlement.