It has recently been publicised that in February 2014 a man who was due to undergo a minor urological procedure at Royal Liverpool Hospital was given a vasectomy by mistake. The incident has been described as a ‘Never Event’ which is a medical mistake that should never happen; in this case it was ‘wrong site surgery’.
The hospital apologised to the patient who has obviously been left feeling very distressed and has stated that the surgeon involved has been suspended from carrying out operation during an internal investigation.
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure in which the tubes that carry sperm from a man’s testicles to the penis are cut, blocked or sealed. In most cases it is more than 99% effective. It is possible to have a vasectomy reversed, but according to NHS England, the success rate is only around 55%. Even if a surgeon manages to join up the tubes again, pregnancy may still not be possible.
Doctors have tried to reverse the blunder but the victim now faces an anxious wait to see if he will be able to have children. If he can’t it is possible that he will be able to bring a clinical negligence claim against the Trust resulting in a potential compensation settlement in excess of £100,000 if he is a young man left sterile. The Trust has not commented on the age of the patient.
It is understood that there has been one other ‘Never Event’ at the Trust since 2011 which allegedly involved a patient having a wrong tooth removed at the Trust’s dental hospital.
It was also reported recently that surgeons at Westmorland General Hospital operated on the wrong man after his medical records were “mixed up” with those of another patient with the same surname. The hospital is part of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust which last year reported 3 “never events” at its hospitals in Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow in Furness between April and September 2013
If you or a loved one has been affected by such a “never event” then you or your family member would be entitled to compensation for the resulting injuries and losses.