SAN FRANCISCO—Motorcycles are sexy, but one San Francisco man never expected that riding one would result in a boner lasting two years. At least that's the stated reason for a lawsuit he is bringing against motorcycle builder BMW and seat manufacturer Corbin-Pacifica. Henry Wolf, 52, claims that a single four-0hour ride on his 1993 bike exactly two years ago on May 1, 2010, resulted in an ongoing case of priapism, which Wolf says he now lives with 24 hours a day.
In the ubiquitous Viagra and Cialis commercials on TV, the voiceover never fails to mention that a doctor should be called if an erection lasts for over four hours. In Wolf's case, however, a visit to the doctor brought bad news. According to ABC News, after consulting a number of physicians, he was told "the condition was the result of both the configuration of the seat and the long motorcycle ride."
In his complaint, Wolf's attorney, Vernon Bradley, claims, "Plaintiff was riding his 1993 BMW motorcycle equipped with a Corbin-Pacific seat. The ride lasted approximately two hours each way to plaintiff's destination, after which plaintiff developed a severe case of priapism (a persistent, lasting erection). Plaintiff alleges that this condition was caused by the ridge-like seat on his motorcycle, negligently designed, manufactured and/or installed by defendants.
"Plaintiff now suffers from priapism (a long-lasting erection), and has been experiencing continuing problems since his motorcycle ride," the complaint continues. "He is now unable to engage in sexual activity, which is causing him substantial emotional and mental anguish. Plaintiff is distraught and distressed because of this. Defendants, and each of them, are liable to plaintiff due [to] their negligent design, manufacture and/or installation of the seat on plaintiff's motorcycle."
Urologists are now weighing in on the severity and length of Wolf's claimed injury with guarded skepticism. Dr. Michael Lutz, from the Michigan Institute of Urology, told WWJ Newsradio 950 that while there is no medical data to support Wolf's claim, “It’s been long-known that compression of the neurovascular supply to the penis—if it’s compressed for a period of time, whether it be on a bicycle seat or some other device—it can actually cause prolonged numbness of the genitalia. Not only in men, but women can also get numbness in that region if they’re compressing those nervous structures to that region of the body."
Dr. Ramgopal Satyanarayana, associate professor of urology at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, told ABC News that he has never heard of a case of priapism caused by a motorcycle seat, adding that the affliction ”can be a side effect of certain medications, such as Viagra, Cialis and antipsychotics. It can also develop as a complication of sickle cell anemia, a disease that causes red blood cells to take on an abnormal shape. In rare cases, he said, priapism could be the result of trauma."
Satyanarayana added that there are treatments available for priapism. “We tell them to take pseudoephedrine, and if that doesn’t bring it down, we actually inject medications that can arrest the amount of blood coming in," he said. "If that doesn’t work, we have to operatively reduce it.”
Wolf's attorney said all of the treatments except surgery had been tried, and failed. “If that surgery is not successful, he will never be able to get an erection with a pump or anything else,” Bradley said.
The defendants have reportedly not been served yet, but a local BMW dealer told CBS News that it sounds as if the motorcycle in question had an aftermarket seat on it. Corbins, which start at about $200, are considered high end replacements for factory seats.
One wonders, in fact, why BMW is being named in the suit, unless the company forced the owner of the bike to replace the factory seat with the Corbin. It may of course have provided the seat for sale as an aftermarket item in one of its stores, thus implying that it stands by the quality of the seat, but it remains to be seen if such an admission would also come with legal liability in such an extremely rare case as this in which it can probably be easily shown that innumerable other people have ridden far more than four hours on Corbin seats placed on BMW motorcycles with no subsequent impairment of their ability to get it up and let it down.
Image: Stock photo