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 "Orchidectomy"

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Testicle Removal

A man was robbed of the chance of becoming a father after a blunder by doctors. The man, who had already had his left testicle removed because of a tumour, had his right one removed when doctors wrongly suspected it had the same problem.

His trauma was made even worse when, due to a mix-up, hospital staff failed to store a sample of his sperm after it was analysed. Taking a sample is standard hospital procedure and the patient, who is in his forties, had stressed that he wanted it to be done. Now, after a four-year legal battle, the man from Eccles who does not want to be identified, has received 30,000 from Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust for his mistreatment at Hope Hospital.

The childless patient said: "It is a relief that this is all over. But no amount of money can compensate for the difficult time I have had over the last few years. Hopefully the changes that the trust has made as a result of my case will ensure that this won't happen again.'' The man had a genetic defect of his glands, which was known by Hope Hospital's urology department, which had the relevant part of his records.

But the defect was not mentioned to the hospital's medics who were examining his testicles for tumours. His left testicle was removed, by a process known as orchidectomy, because it had a tumour. They then removed his right testicle, believing it also had a tumour. If they had known of the genetic defect, they would not have removed his right testicle, because they would have realised the problem was unlikely to be a dangerous tumour. Tests later proved there was no need to remove it.

The trust has admitted that a "communications failure" led to the man being unable to have a family. It has now changed its procedures so that a patient's records are kept in one set rather than being divided between different departments. Meetings are also held with all senior medics involved in a patient's treatment.

In a letter to JMW, the trust admits: "The patient's condition was misdiagnosed due to a communications failure. If that failure had not occurred, the second orchidectomy would have been avoided.

"In determining the level of compensation awarded in this case, we have considered the fact that the patient has been rendered incapable of having a family of his own by virtue of his orchidectomies and that he underwent what was essentially an unnecessary operation.''

The trust said it did not want to comment further.

Drew Voight - Men's Health

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