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Compensation for delayed diagnosis of testicular torsion

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Our client was 26 years old when he woke up with pain in the lower right side of his stomach, which radiated to the right side of his groin and scrotum. He got dressed and got into his car to go to work, but the pain was so severe that he had to return home and take some painkillers.

An ambulance was called and the paramedic who assessed him recorded a pain score of ‘10 out of 10’ (defined as ‘severe pain which is disabling, leaving the patient unable to perform the activities of daily living’). He was taken to the Accident & Emergency department at his local hospital in Birmingham.

Misdiagnosis on A&E admission

At hospital, he was seen by a doctor in A&E who noticed tenderness in the lower right side of his stomach. He reported his symptoms of pain, which went into his groin and scrotum, however the doctor did not physically examine his right or left scrotum and testicle.

Instead, noting some redness to the right side of his groin, the doctor diagnosed him with cellulitis, an infection of the deeper layers of skin and underlying tissues and discharged him with a course of antibiotics.

After returning home, despite taking the antibiotics, he continued to suffer severe pain in the lower part of his stomach and right scrotum. He tried to ignore it, but two days later he could no longer bear it, so he returned to the A&E Department.

Testicular torsion suspected, but not acted upon quickly enough

On admission to the Surgical Assessment Unit, he was seen by a surgeon who diagnosed a condition called ‘epididymo-orchitis’ - an inflammation of the epididymis and/or testicle. The surgeon also arranged an appointment for an ultrasound scan of the right scrotum and testicle the next day at hospital.

An ultrasound scan was taken the following day and a diagnosis of right testicular torsion (when a testicle rotates, twisting the spermatic cord that brings blood to the scrotum, reducing or cutting off blood flow) was finally confirmed. Unfortunately, by this point the blood supply to the testicle had been cut off for a number of hours, resulting in the death of the testicle and surrounding tissues (infarction).

Surgery affected fertility and marriage prospects

Our client needed surgery to remove his right testicle and to insert stitches around his left testicle to prevent future torsion. The loss of his right testicle affected his fertility and caused cultural upset, consequently affecting our client’s imminent marriage prospects.

Access Legal Solicitors secured compensation

Our client sought legal advice and instructed Sumit Morjaria, a solicitor in Access Legal Solicitors medical negligence team, to pursue a claim against the Hospital Trust for the delay in diagnosing testicular torsion.

Supportive evidence was obtained from independent medical experts in emergency medicine and urology.

The case was settled out of court and compensation was awarded for the physical and psychological pain and suffering, including the cultural upset our client had endured because of his personal beliefs, together with the private hospital costs of surgical insertion of a prosthetic testicle and costs for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment needed to overcome potential infertility problems.

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