A former inmate in Oklahoma is suing officials after he said he was refused treatment for a painful erection that lasted almost four days.
Dustin Lance, 32, said that the erection began after he took a pill that he had received from another inmate, according to The Associated Press. According to Lance, the erection began on Dec. 16, and he was not taken to a hospital for treatment until Dec. 19 -- the erection is reported to have lasted 91 hours.
Lance was reported to have been in jail for drug possession and burglary charges.
Lance's lawsuit seeks $5 million from Pittsburg County and the county sheriff, among others, including a nurse and 10 sheriff's office employees. His lawsuit alleges that his civil and constitutional rights were violated, and claims that the damage done to his body is permanent.
Lance has alleged that prison staff mocked him rather than helping him receive medical treatment for the "unbearable pain" that the erection caused him.
Lance was taken to a health center on Dec. 19, but irreparable damage had already occurred, according to the lawsuit, Metro reports. Doctors couldn't treat Lance's penis, and "told defendants the plaintiff needed to be seen by a urologist specialist" as soon as possible. But rather than immediately taking Lance to a specialist, the suit alleges, the deputies took Lance back to jail and "further delayed the treatment."
Lance was reportedly released later that day, and charges against him were dismissed in February.
Former Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns said he could not recall whether the incident had been brought to his attention. Current Sheriff Chris Morris has also been named as one of the defendants in the suit, but said that he had only heard about the incident after the lawsuit was filed.
Morris was sworn into office as sheriff almost a month after the incident is claimed to have taken place.
"If our inmates need medical care, we give it to them," said Morris.
It's unclear what Lance's current condition is, and the nature and severity of his injury from the erection is also unclear, according to Forbes. Lance's attorney, however, confirmed that he is alive, after county officials reportedly said that he was deceased.
Those officials were reported by Tulsa World to have filed a motion to dismiss the case based on Lance being deceased, but attorney Jon Williford is said to have confirmed that his client is not dead, and said that Lance's reported death was a "scrivener's error."
An erection that lasts more than four hours is medically referred to as priapism, and can be a serious condition, according to WebMD.
Priapisms are treated a number of different ways including ice packs, removal of the blood with a needle, or medications called alpha-agonists that can make the blood vessels more narrow in order to bring less blood into the genital area. Surgery may also be necessary in some cases.
Priapism and treatment for priapism can carry a risk of permanent erectile dysfunction.