The Plaintiff was 16 years of age at the time he attended his General Practitioner complaining of right sided abdominal pain. He was advised by his GP to attend at his local emergency department which he did accompanied by his mother. The examining doctor noted an area of tenderness mid-way between the superior ileac spine and the pubic symphysis (groin area) but no examination was carried out of his testicles. He was diagnosed as having suffered a groin strain and discharged home. The Plaintiff continued to have pain and was referred back to hospital some 8 days later by his General Practitioner with a query regarding a possible testicular torsion. He was assessed by the Surgical Registrar who noted that his right testicle was hyperemic and swollen with an area of reddish discoloration. An ultrasound was carried out which showed a possible torsion of the right testicle and right testicular hydrocele. An urgent exploration and bilateral orchidopexy was carried out that day and a right testicular torsion with twisted cord was confirmed during the course of the procedure. A decision however was not made to remove the testicle at this stage and the necrotic testicle was left in situ for a number of weeks. The Plaintiff finally underwent a right orchidectomy (removal of the testicle) having developed a significant infection as a result of the decision to leave the necrotic testicle in place for a number of weeks.
The Plaintiff’s parents were concerned about the standard of care he received at his local hospital in relation to the failure to carry out an examination of his testicles when he first presented to the hospital. An expert opinion was sought from the UK from a Consultant in Emergency Medicine. This report was extremely critical of the failure on the part of the examining doctor to carry out a proper physical examination of the Plaintiff and in particular, an examination of his testicles. A report was also received from a Consultant Urological Surgeon who criticised the decision not to carry out an orchidectomy when the Plaintiff clearly had a necrotic testicle. The urological view was that the Plaintiff would have avoided the need for an orchidectomy had a proper examination and diagnosis been made when the Plaintiff first attended at the hospital. Further, had the orchidectomy taken place when the torsion was ultimately diagnosed the Plaintiff would have avoided the infection and requirement for a further operation to debride the necrotic tissue.
Proceedings were issued against the HSE who also had carried out internal report in which the failure to carry out a testicular examination was highlighted as a failing in care. Prior to a Defence being delivered on the part of the HSE, a settlement meeting was arranged and a payment of €115,000.00 plus costs was agreed with the Plaintiff in settlement of his action.
19 April 2017