Clinical Negligence

Failure to diagnose and treat testicular torsion

On 27 February 2014, Mr P attended A&E at the Conquest Hospital with pain in his abdomen, groin and right testicle. His right testicle was red, swollen to the size of an orange and riding high in his scrotum.

Mr P described his pain as 10/10.  He had difficulty walking and felt nauseous. He explained his history to the receptionist, the triage nurse and the doctor and told them he had been diagnosed with testicular torsion in the past.  He underwent blood and urine tests which were negative and did not reveal an infection.

The doctor discussed Mr P’s condition with the on-call Urologist and Mr P was told that he required an urgent ultrasound scan. However, the urology department was closed and so he was discharged and told he would be contacted to come in for the scan the next day.

The following day Mr P waited at home for a call but the hospital failed to contact him; he therefore returned to hospital.  Mr P was seen by a doctor who did not carry out any urinary tests and advised him he did not require an ultrasound scan.  Mr P was diagnosed with epididymo-orchitis (inflammation) and he was prescribed antibiotics and pain-killers.

Mr P returned home and took the antibiotics and waited for them to work. However, his testicle continued to swell further.  It was four times its usual size by 3 March 2014 and it was still high up and red.  Mr P attended his GP and was referred to Eastbourne District General Hospital for an urgent ultrasound scan.  He was admitted for IV fluids and antibiotics.

On 4 March 2014, Mr P finally underwent the ultrasound scan.  The scan showed that Mr P’s right testicle had died due to lack of blood supply and he was informed he would need to have the testicle removed.  On 5 March 2014, Mr P underwent a right orchidectomy to remove his right testicle and his left testicle was fixed into place to prevent further torsion.

Unfortunately Mr P had to be readmitted post-operatively for pain caused by a haematoma.  He suffered a further infection and he was prescribed antibiotics five months after his surgery.

Mr P instructed Jenny Waight, who specialises in clinical negligence matters. Mr P’s medical records were obtained and a Consultant Urologist instructed to report on breach of duty and causation.  A letter of claim was sent to the defendant hospital trust alleging that they had been negligent in discharging Mr P from A&E without full investigation, and that had Mr P been fully investigated the torsion would have been diagnosed and treated, which would have prevented him from losing the testicle.

It was argued, by the defendant that the diagnosis and treatment provided was appropriate, in the circumstances and that earlier treatment would not have prevented the loss of a testicle.

Jenny successfully negotiated an out-of-court settlement of £20,000 to compensation Mr P for his pain and suffering.

Jenny Waight specialises in urological cases. If you would like to ask Jenny about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence case, contact Jenny Waight at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701374 in confidence.

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