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Misdiagnosis of testicular torsion

Claimant won £20,000 after a GP failed to diagnose severe scrotal pain as testicular torsion but instead as a urinary tract infection. This resulted in the testicle having to be removed causing the Claimant a reduction in his fertility and psychological issues.

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At the time of instruction the Claimant was aged 17.  The case concerned a failure by the clients GP to identify, recognise and thereafter refer for immediate investigation, severe scrotal pain, which was later diagnosed as a testicular torsion.  The Claimant first consulted his GP with scrotal pain , however, although the symptoms were diagnosed as a urinary tract infection, a physical examination was not performed.  The pain continued over the next two days resulting in a return visit to the GP Practice at which point a physical examination was performed by a different GP, and the Claimant was urged to attend Hospital immediately. 

When he arrived at Hospital, surgical examination revealed a black and infarcted left testis and epididymis, and it was not possible to save the testicle, resulting in the Claimant undergoing a left orchidectomy. 

The case was pursued on the basis that the first GP failed to perform a physical examination which resulted in a delay in diagnosis and treatment of the condition, resulting in loss of the testicle.  The Claimant maintained that if a physical examination had been performed initially, and an immediate referral to Hospital had been made, then exploration of the testicle would have been possible within eight hours of the onset of pain resulting in the testicle being saved and the orchidectomy being avoided. 

The time period for treatment was crucial in this case. 

The claim was investigated and, following input from a GP expert in respect of breach of duty and a Consultant Urological Surgeon in respect of causation, condition and prognosis, the claim was then pursued further.

It was also identified that, in addition to the loss of the testicle, the Claimant was also at risk of infertility which resulted in further investigations, to include semen analysis, to support this contention.  As the Claimant had originally intended to pursue a career in the Royal Marines, there was some psychological problems associated with the loss of his testicle, and the medical evidence subsequently concluded, that the long term consequences of the orchidectomy was a 10% reduction in fertility with psychological effects,and a change of direction in the Claimants career choice.  The Claimant also pursued the cost of a prosthesis, should he wish to proceed with this, at a later date. 

Unfortunately, despite a Letter of Claim being served on the Defendant, a Protocol Letter of Response was never provided, nor was any admission ever made.  Consequently, the Claimant was left with no alternative other than to issue and serve proceedings almost twelve months later.  At that point, negotiations commenced and settlement terms were agreed, without any admission of liability, in the sum of £20,000 plus costs.

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FAQs
What is medical negligence?
Medical Negligence is when a medical practitioner such as a doctor, nurse, midwife, dentist or an institutional health provider breaches his or its duty of care to you and you are injured as a result of that breach.
How can I find out if medical treatment was negligent?
During the investigations of your clinical negligence claim we will be required to obtain disclosure of all relevant medical records - both hospital and GP - in the manner set out in the pre-action protocols. Once all of the relevant medical records have been received they will be considered on a preliminary basis. They will then be sent to an independent expert nurse who will index and paginate the records to ensure that they are in some semblance of order.

 

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