Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The doctor who reattached John Bobbitt's dick reflects on a weird night in the operating room

Photo: Pool (Getty Images)

The ‘90s are back, baby, and with it comes high-waisted jeans and the Backstreet Boys, not to mention some of the decade’s most controversial cultural moments, including the story of Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt. History has rendered the whole thing—which, y’know, includes Lorena cutting her husband’s penis off with a kitchen knife—something of a joke, but, with the help of an upcoming docuseries from Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, a cultural reappraisal of the controversy and its deeper implications is now taking place.

The latest in this trend is an an interview with The Cut that focuses on urologist Dr. Jim Sehn’s surgical role in the story. Dr. Sehn describes the night in June 1993 when he got a call to come into work for an emergency procedure that involved reattaching Bobbitt’s severed penis. Arriving at the hospital at four in the morning, he soon “got a call from the police department that the organ had been found” and took receipt of it “in a hot dog bag on ice from the 7-Eleven where it had been retrieved, from the field where [Lorena] had tossed it out her car window.”


The doctor called in extra help from a plastic surgeon since “urologists don’t generally replant organs” and, after “about nine hours,” the surgery was finished. Dr. Sehn also recounts the state of the fated weiner, remembering that, luckily, “It wasn’t grossly contaminated. A dog hadn’t chewed on it and nobody had stepped on it.” When asked how he reacted to the job at hand, Dr. Sehn says he’d “never seen an injury quite this gruesome before in urology” and calls it, with at least a bit of understatement, “just a really unique moment.”

It’s worth reading the entire piece for Dr. Sehn’s thoughts on what followed the surgery, from the “prurient interest” of the media to his experience watching Bobbitt’s subsequent pornographic films, which he says was a “pretty unusual” way to see the fruits of a “good [surgical] result.”


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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.