The NHS has had to pay out more than £800,000 to men over the course of the past two years, following the negligent treatment of a variety of testicular problems experienced by the affected patients.
The cases range from misdiagnosis of common conditions, through to accidental removal of a healthy testicle – leaving some men infertile as a result.
Potential outcomes of negligent treatment of testicles
Testicles create around 90% of the body’s testosterone, a hormone that regulates typical male characteristics such as a deep voice, hair pattern, as well as bone growth and sperm growth.
Men who have had a testicle removed will typically experience no future issues with fertility or sexual function as a result, and one healthy testicle can typically do the work of two. However, a man who loses both testicles will experience severely reduced levels of the testosterone he can naturally produce, and will not be able to naturally father children.
Affected men may also suffer a loss of sex drive, along with depression or low mood, lethargy, weight gain and even breast swelling. As a direct result, they may require artificial hormone treatment, which can be administered via injections, patches or gels, and which may take weeks to work to full effect.
Common causes of injury or disease to testicles include:
Testicular torsion: this is the most commonly reported testicle injury and occurs when the tubes inside a testicle become twisted, cutting off or significantly reducing the blood supply. The condition must be diagnosed and treated quickly to prevent the testicle from dying and becoming gangrenous. If not treated in time, the testicle will usually require removal.
Hernia operations: in common hernia operations, sometimes the blood flow to the testicle can be interrupted or entirely cut off. Again, this condition must be diagnosed and treated quickly to prevent lasting damage or testicular death.
Testicular cancer: in one of the most serious cases, a man suffering from testicular cancer was operated upon, but his healthy testicle was removed. The mistake was noticed soon after the completion of the surgery, and steps taken to remedy it. However, the testicle could not be saved, and the man had to undergo further surgery to remove the cancerous testicle – leaving him infertile as a result.
Compensation for injuries to testicles
Compensation may be payable if negligent treatment can be shown, and if damage is caused as a result. A typical payment for circumstances in which a man is left with just one testicle is in the region of £20,000. Payment of up to £70,000 may be appropriate if both testicles are removed and medical infertility is caused as a result.
Compensation payments may also include a sum to enable patients to undergo cosmetic surgery for a prosthetic testicle.
If you have experience of any of the issues outlined above, or have undergone another type of testicular treatment that has gone wrong, you may be entitled to compensation. If you would like to arrange a discreet conversation with a member of our specialist medical negligence team, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0845 287 0939. Alternatively, please complete the online application form.