Ending a marriage can be messy—you’ve got the lawyers, the divorces papers, the court fees. Next thing you know you’re dividing up you’re possessions. She gets to take the car, the new flat screen . . . your penis.
That’s how it went down for one California couple this past week. On Monday evening, Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, was arrested for cutting off her estranged husband’s penis and tossing it into the garbage disposal.
According to the police reports, after lacing her husband’s dinner with an unknown drug (or poison), Mr. Becker went to lie down, believing something was wrong with the food. While her husband was asleep, Becker tied him to the bed, allegedly waking him by attempting to tug off his clothes.
She then took a knife, cut off his penis, called 911 to inform them of the situation, and then chucked the dismembered member into the garbage disposal.
So what inspired Mrs. Becker to play butcher with her husband’s meat? Not quite sure, though the couple was in the process of sorting through a divorce. Becker was booked into Orange County jail, arrested on numerous charges including aggravated mayhem, false imprisonment, and assault with a deadly weapon.
As for Mr. Becker, emergency relief arrived to the scene in time to rush the husband to the hospital for immediate surgery.
At this point you may be wondering, how could anyone survive that without bleeding to death? We found a brave doctor to speak on the record. (Apparently, “Will you stop treating patients to talk to us about severed penises” isn’t a great interview opener.)
When blood vessels are cut across—and they’re actually severed in a situation like this—they begin to experience extreme spasms, explains Reza Nabavian, M.D., specialist in cosmetic plastic surgery and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at USC-Keck School of Medicine. That causes the muscles around the vessels to tighten and constrict around the openings in the vessels.
And although not everyone is fortunate enough to have this happen, this may have been the case for the husband considering he made it out alive, Dr. Nabavian speculates.
So what’s up next for Mr. Becker? It depends on if the penis is available to reattach. (How’d you like to be that plumber?) If it is, surgeons will have to act quickly in order to reconstruct the nerve endings, arteries, and veins while piecing the erectile tissue back together.
But if his member is not usable after its trip down the drain, there are other options. “Once the area heals, he’s going to need a complex surgery—using microsurgery to bring some skin and muscle to that area of the body,” says Nabavian. Then a penile prosthetic can be incorporated so he can regain some usage of that area.
According to Nabavian, depending on what happened to the man’s testicular region, sexual functioning may be out of the question. He should be able to urinate, though, since most likely that muscle was not infected in the attack.