Delayed diagnosis of classic symptoms of testicular torsion in A&E led to successful medical negligence claim

A 33 year old man who had to have a testicle removed after a delay in diagnosis of testicular torsion has received compensation from the hospital Trust responsible.

Specialist clinical negligence lawyers Nicola Wainwright and Suleikha Ali represented Mr S in his claim.

Mr S developed acute pain and swelling in his right groin whilst playing golf, the pain was that bad that he attended the A&E department at Queen’s Hospital Romford.

The first doctor Mr S saw diagnosed epididymo-orchitis (inflammation) and infection of the testes. A second doctor in the A&E department arranged for a radiographer to carry out an ultrasound scan.

On the basis of the scan the radiographer ruled out testicular torsion and agreed with the first doctor’s diagnosis of epididymo-orchitis and infection.

Mr S’s pain increased significantly and he required codeine and morphine intravenously for the pain. He was kept in hospital overnight but despite the fact his symptoms were continuing the next morning he was discharged home with antibiotics and painkillers.

Over the next five days Mr S’s symptoms of pain, tenderness and swelling of the right groin area did not improve. He paid privately to see a Consultant Urologist, who arranged an ultrasound, which confirmed a diagnosis of testicular torsion with infarction of the entire right testicle.

Unfortunately, as the testicular torsion had not been diagnosed and treated promptly, the window of opportunity to save the testicle had passed.

Mr S therefore had to undergo emergency surgery the following day to have his right testicle removed and his left testicle secured.  He later had a right testicular prosthetic implant fitted.

Mr S instructed Nicola Wainwright and Suleikha Ali to investigate a clinical negligence claim against the NHS Trust responsible for Queen’s Hospital.

Given the straight forward facts of the case Queen’s Hospital were invited to admit liability at the outset.  They did not.

In the circumstances expert evidence was obtained from a Consultant in Emergency Medicine and a Consultant Urologist. Both experts advised that Mr S was negligently diagnosed with right epididymo-orchitis despite presenting with classic symptoms of testicular torsion. The experts were of the view that testicular torsion should have been diagnosed in A&E. Had Mr S’s testicular torsion being correctly diagnosed and treated promptly his right testicle would probably have been saved.

A pre-action Letter of Claim was sent to the NHS Trust, and finally the NHS Litigation Authority acting on behalf of the Trust admitted liability for Mr S’s injuries.

Despite the admission of liability it took the NHS Trust 11 months to formally apologise to Mr S for his injuries despite repeated requests and it was not possible to agree the level of compensation until 18 months after the admission.

Mr S has now been reimbursed for the medical costs he had to incur unnecessarily and has sufficient money to cover any future costs that he will incur because he had to have his testicle removed.

Nicola Wainwright, a partner in the medical negligence department at Leigh Day said:

“For a young man losing a testicle is a devastating injury, especially when it could have been saved if testicular torsion had been correctly diagnosed earlier. Mr S was seriously injured by the failures in his care at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, where he expected to be well looked after, but where he was let down. The circumstances of his injury and the way in which he has been treated since have had a psychological as well as physical impact on him.”

Suleikha Ali, Solicitor who worked with Nicola on the case said: “our client not only received negligent treatment but the conduct of the NHS Trust in having to be chased repeatedly to provide an apology despite accepting they had caused his injury caused our client further unnecessary distress.

We are pleased to be able to bring this matter to a successful conclusion for Mr S."

Mr S said:

“Life is full of journeys, some good, some bad and some completely shocking and unexpected. Suffering clinical negligence is one of those things that you never imagine can happen to yourself and it is perfectly possible to endure the consequences for a lifetime with no redress and no justice.

"I was warned from the outset how long the process can take. It is easy to lose faith and to crack in the face of what felt like wilful obstruction, but the confidence I had in my legal team kept me going through the darkest times.

"They dealt with my case with the utmost compassion and sensitivity, always mindful of the fact that there is something uniquely awful about suffering a personal injury, however severe.

"They were fully determined to do the best for me with regard to all outcomes, not just financial, yet remained practical at all times, never giving me unrealistic expectations, which is equally important.

"This journey is now over and I can walk away with my head held high.

"Leigh Day turned a dire situation into a victory. Nicola Wainwright, Suleikha Ali and Rachel Botterill have been there every step of the way from my initial anxious phone call, through to the triumphant arrival of my damages cheque three years later."