Owner of Clayton County clinic testifies in case of botched circumcision

WARNING: This story contains mature content that may not be suitable for all readers.

The owner of a Clayton County clinic where a baby suffered a botched circumcision five years ago has told a jury that although the on-staff doctor called her at the time, no one told her about the injury.

Anne Sigouin is one of the defendants in a lawsuit brought by a mother who says a nurse midwife at Life Cycle OB/GYN cut off the tip of her son’s penis in October 2013.

Sigouin said that she agrees now that Baby D had a piece of his penis severed, but insists that at the time, she did not believe anything had gone wrong with his circumcision.

When the nurse midwife dealt with an abnormally large amount of bleeding after the laceration, the supervising pediatrician, the mother’s OB/GYN Dr. Brian Register— also a defendant in the case—called Sigouin on the phone. She advised him to call the boy’s pediatrician. She testified that she did not believe anyone was thinking about the possibility of re-attachment of the tissue in that moment.

Sigouin testified that when the mother—whom she described as “hostile” that day—brought in her son during a follow-up, she refused to examine him when the mom took off the boy’s diaper.

“I was like, ‘I don't see anything wrong with this penis.’ I said, ‘It's swollen,’ and I said, ‘It’s going to heal, and you need to not touch it. Don't mess with it. Just pull the foreskin back like [you are] supposed to,’” Sigouin recalled.

The plaintiff’s lawyer also pressed Sigouin to acknowledge that despite having done an estimated 4,000 circumcisions over the years, her clinic has no written protocols of what to do in the instance of a circumcision that goes bad.

“We haven’t had any except for one out of 4,000,” Sigouin explained.

She contended that no one told her in the phone call that the circumcision had gone badly. She says she was informed there was extra bleeding, but that no one told her anything had been severed.

The plaintiff’s attorney Jonathan Johnson asked, “They called you up for an emergency situation not to tell you anything?”

“Just that they had everything under control,” replied Sigouin.

He countered, “Do you get a lot of phone calls of circumcisions by your staff that has everything under control?”

“No,” she said.

She also told Johnson that neither the nurse midwife nor anyone else on the staff ever told her the tissue had been kept. Johnson was incredulous, and asked, “Are you disappointed that your employees didn’t tell you they had a piece of a kid’s penis in their refrigerator down there for a while?”

“Absolutely,” Sigouin replied.

The severed glans tissue was salvaged and kept in a biohazard bag inside a clinic refrigerator for months until it was learned that a lawsuit was in the works. Then, it was disposed of, and State Court Judge Shalonda Jones-Parker said the destruction of the tissue, along with the clinic’s returning to service the Mogen clamp used in the procedure, deprived the child’s mother of evidence vital to her case. The ruling struck the defenses of Register and the nurse midwife who did the procedure, Melissa Jones.

The ruling did not apply to Sigouin.

In her deposition, Sigouin said she could tell just by looking at the child’s mother that she is the type of clientele Sigouin often sees on the south side of Atlanta, contending the mom wanted to “blackmail” her for money.

“You just know. You know that type of patient. I know them when they walk in the door, that they're looking,” Sigouin said.

She added, “They’re waiting. They want you to make a mistake. They’re waiting on you to make a mistake because they’re going to jump all over it. They’re hungry.”

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