A North Carolina woman amputated her husband’s penis on Tuesday morning, and she’s being held on $500,000 bond, according to authorities.
Just before 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, Carteret County deputies found themselves at the Newport home of Victoria Thomas Frabutt. Her husband, James, reported that his wife had tied him up, pulled out a knife removed his penis, according to the incident report.
— Nick Sinopoli (@NickWCTI12) September 10, 2019
When deputies recovered the 61-year-old’s penis, it was quickly placed on ice and transported to medical personnel, according to the report.
His wife told a 911 operator that she used a pruner “good for pruning roses” and that James’s bleeding wasn’t enough to create the “sign of the cross, or write sinner,” according to WITN, which obtained the 911 call.
The arrest report stated that Frabutt’s motive for amputating her husband’s penis was unclear, but she told the 911 dispatcher the cause of her husband’s pain was “part of the message against sinning against God and fornication,” according to WITN.
Frabutt, who is charged with kidnapping and malicious castration, made her first court appearance Wednesday with her head down and tears in her eyes.
The local news outlet reported that the 56-year old was appointed a public defender, whose office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: A 911 call says a woman used pruners to cut off her husband's penis early Tuesday morning. https://t.co/csxLChJSFC
— WITN Headlines (@WITN) September 11, 2019
Medical professionals don’t agree with the naming of the castration charge, but they do accede that there are options for someone who experiences the removal of the male part.
Richard Redett, who performed the world’s first penis and scrotum transplant last year, said castration only involves the removal of the testes.
Frabutt’s husband had a traumatic nonmedical amputation of his penis, said Redett, professor of plastic surgery at Johns Hopkins.
The likelihood of bleeding out from a traumatic penis amputation is small because the arteries and vessels in the area aren’t large enough to make that a possibility, according to experts.
If someone’s penis is removed in a nonmedical environment, timing is critical.
“The sooner you get it back on and reestablish blood supply the better,” Redett said, estimating that the maximum amount of time the organ could be out is between six and 12 hours.
Once an organ is not attached to the body, the cells begin to breakdown and die immediately. Recovery of penis function could be poorer based on the amount of cell and damage tissue that occurred before being reattached, he said.
Jay Sandlow, urologist with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network, said he’s seen cases of self-mutilation occur in patients with psychiatric disorders. Some patients are even able to walk themselves to the hospital to seek help, he said.
How the penis is handled before the reattachment is also critical. Professionals placed Frabutt’s husband’s penis on ice, according to the incident report, but that might not have been the best option, Sandlow said.
“Wrap the organ in saltwater soaked gauze,” he said, noting that the saltwater, or saline, keeps the tissue moist while the ice cools the organ down and slows the process of decomposition.
Attacks such as what authorities say happened to Frabutt’s husband also increases a patient’s risk of infection, which would have to be treated with antibiotics, he said.
When reattaching the penis, doctors are concerned about how well the blood vessels and nerves can be hooked back up.
If the penis cannot be saved, there are still options.
Doctors can perform a surgery that would close off what’s remaining of the penis, which is also called a stump, said Charles Welliver, a trained urologist who specializes in men’s health and professor of surgery at Albany Medical College.
A stump would still allow for a man to use the restroom because there’s still the capability of dispelling urine through the urethra opening. If the stump is too small, however, a patient could experience difficulty standing while urinating, Redett said.
Patients also have the option of a phalloplasty, a procedure that involves doctors removing flaps of skin, often from the forearms or thighs, to help build a penis.
A good reconstruction can allow for erogenous sensations to return along with urination, but complications are high and the procedure is complex, Redett said.
“You’re not going to be normal. You’re going to lose some function,” he said.
Frabutt’s husband is at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina, according to WITN. His medical condition is unknown.
Frabutt’s next court date is Sept. 20, according to WNCT.
Partners mutilating their partner’s body has made headlines before with the Lorena Bobbitt case among the more notorious. Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife while he was asleep in their Manassas, Virginia, home in 1993 after enduring years of domestic violence and an alleged rape the night of her attack, Bobbitt told the New York Times. A jury found her not guilty based on a moment of temporary insanity.
Her ex-husband had his penis reattached and went on to star in pornographic movies.
One can live without his genitalia as the penis and testes don’t rely on the other to perform their different functions, Sandlow said.
“Neither one sounds really good to have cut off in a nonmedical way,” he said.