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Vasectomy error leads to $386,000 medical malpractice award

A Hartford, Connecticut, judge has awarded a man $386,000 in a lawsuit against the University of Connecticut Health Center and the state of Connecticut.

In April 2013, a 42-year-old man had a vasectomy at the UConn Health Center. This procedure is done to severe the ducts (vas deferens) that carry sperm so that it cannot enter the seminal stream. During the procedure, the urologist cut a vein in the man's left testicle. This vein is actually the testicular artery for the testicle.

A portion of the vas deferens is sent to the pathology lab in order to confirm that the surgery was done properly. The report from the pathologist said that the vas deferens was not severed, but instead a "section of muscular structure consistent with sections of a medium-sized vein."

The man was told that he would have some discomfort from the procedure; however, three days after the procedure, he went to the emergency room because he was in so much pain. The emergency room doctor did an ultrasound and found there was no blood going to the man's left testicle. She had to remove the testicle in surgery. The man's problems didn't end there, though. He ended up with an infection that brought him another five months of treatment.

The defendants argued that a testicular torsion injury is what caused the man to lose his testicle. This is when the testicle is twisted. It seldom affects adult males, though, and the plaintiff said it "didn't make any sense that this wasn't related to the vasectomy."

The defendants tried to settle the case for $120,000, but the plaintiffs refused. A bench trial was set and took place in November and lasted almost a week. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the judge issued his ruling, finding the urologist negligent.

The judge awarded the man just over $36,000 for economic damages and $300,000 for noneconomic damages. His wife was also awarded $50,000 for her loss of consortium.

The man's attorney said that while he has healed, the emotional scars are still with him.

When medical malpractice affects a patient's health and well-being, a lawsuit may be filed for damages. An attorney can provide additional information about your legal options.

Source: Connecticut Law Tribune, "Plaintiff Collects $386,000 After Botched Vasectomy," Christian Nolan, Dec. 02, 2015

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