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Delay In Diagnosing A Torsion Of The Testis

Andrew was aged 23 and travelling to work one morning when he began experiencing severe abdominal pain. By the time that Andrew got off the tube, at about 7am, the pain was so bad that he asked a member of staff at the station to call an ambulance for him.

Andrew was taken to the Accident and Emergency department at the local hospital where he was seen by a doctor just after 8am. After explaining that he had started experiencing severe abdominal pain at about 6am. Andrew explained that he had vomited whilst he had been at the tube station and upon further questioning from the doctor agreed that he had some unusual bowel movements the day before.

A more junior doctor saw Andrew later and Andrew explained to the doctor that he also had pain in his testicle. Andrew explained that he had been embarrassed to mention it to the paramedic at the train station and to the doctor he had seen initially when he was admitted to Accident and Emergency. The junior doctor told Andrew that it was possible that the testicle pain was related and he would let the more senior doctor know.

Andrew was later seen by the more senior doctor and was told that he had gastroenteritis. Andrew was not examined and he assumed that the senior doctor had been told about his testicle pain and that he must have decided that it was unrelated.

Medical staff discharged Andrew and he was advised to rest at home. Later that day Andrew’s mother arranged for him to see his GP because she was concerned about Andrew's abdominal pain. Andrew saw his GP at around 6pm and after explaining that he had abdominal pain Andrew’s GP examined his abdomen and his testicles and Andrew said that he was also experiencing pain in his testicle. Andrew’s GP explained that he thought that Andrew had a torsion and made an urgent referral for Andrew to be seen by a Urologist that night.

Andrew was admitted to hospital at 8.45pm and had had an ultrasound scan which confirmed that Andrew had a torsion. Andrew was prepared for emergency surgery which commenced at 9.45pm. Unfortunately by the time the Urologist was able to perform the surgery Andrew’s testis had become gangrenous because of the length of time that the blood supply had been cut off to the testis. As a result the testis had to be removed. Andrew made a good recovery from surgery and his fertility has not been affected although he has lost one testis.

Jemma Watson from Irwin Mitchell helped Andrew pursue a claim against the hospital . Our expert evidence confirmed that when Andrew was admitted to the Accident and Emergency Department he should have had a physical examination, including an examination of his testicles and that such an examination would have led to a diagnosis of a torsion. Our expert evidence confirmed if Andrew’s torsion had been diagnosed and he had received surgery within 6 hours of the onset of symptoms then his testis would have been saved. The Defendants admitted liability and following negotiations we were able to recover £10,000 in compensation for Andrew.

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