Court blows off prisoner’s erection beef

A regional prison inmate in Bern suffering from priapism has failed in a legal bid to win damages for the alleged failure of prison staff to deal with his medical condition in a timely manner.

Court blows off prisoner’s erection beef
File photo: Stockers9

The man had a “permanent erection” and was eventually operated on at the Bern university hospital but now suffers from erectile dysfunction.

However, an administrative court in Bern, in a judgment published on Monday, rejected the man’s argument that prison staff should be held culpable, the Berner Zeitung newspaper reported online.

In a case dating back to 2010, the inmate claimed that he had informed personnel of his problem four days before he was transported to hospital.

However, staff had testified that the man had not complained of this at the time alleged and the court found the complainant’s statements to be “vague” and “contradictory”.

The court judged that he was too bashful to inform authorities of his symptoms but it also found implausible the suggestion that the man could have had a permanent erection for four days.

And it noted that the inmate did not once complain to his lawyer about the behaviour of the prison staff and doctors.

Priapism, according to the dictionary definition, is a potentially painful medical condition in which the erect penis does not return to its flaccid state, despite the absence of sexual stimulation, within four hours.

The condition is considered a medical emergency that requires treatment by a medical practitioner.

In this case, the inmate was taken to hospital, where doctors initially attempted to treat the problem through “conservative methods”, involving an incision and adrenaline injection, the Berner Zeitung report said.

However, “only an operation could put an end to the permanent erection”, the report said.

As a result of the operation, the man is now suffering from permanent erectile dysfunction.

The court found little sympathy for his attempt to blame prison staff and doctors, rejecting his appeal and ordering him to pay 500 francs in costs.

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Syngenta rejects claims of pesticide bee deaths

Basel-based agrichemical giant Syngenta on Friday urged Brussels to withdraw plans to slap a two-year ban on so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, saying blaming them for bee deaths was wrongheaded.

Syngenta rejects claims of pesticide bee deaths
Syngenta maintains study blaming pesticide for bee deaths is flawed. Photo: Jon Sullivan

Syngenta said that a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report on the risks posed to bees was "fundamentally flawed".

The European Commission — the Brussels-based executive of the 27-nation European Union — aims to rein in the use of such pesticides in a bid to prevent a disastrous collapse in population of an insect considered vital to the food chain.
"The European Commission has been using this flawed EFSA report to justify proposed restrictions on this technology," Syngenta's chief operating officer, John Atkin, said in a statement.

Last month, the EFSA said that neonicotinoid insecticides used in maize, rapeseed, sunflower and cotton cultivation posed "disturbing" risks to with bees and other pollinating insects hugely important for food production, especially of fruit.
EFSA said the insecticides attack the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death.
The chemicals in doubt — clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam — are present in insecticides produced by Syngenta and German counterpart Bayer.
According to Syngenta, however, further review has shown that the EFSA based its assessment on "unrealistic and excessive" seed planting rates, between two and four times higher than would be used in modern agriculture.
Syngenta — the top player on the global agrichemical market — said that using normal sowing rates in the study would have told a different story.
It claimed that the EFSA would have concluded that the risk to bees is extremely low and that in reality neonicotinoid technology is safe.
Earlier this month, Atkin told AFP that Syngenta would do all it could to defend the reputation of its products.