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Case Study

Settlement for man left infertile following negligent hernia surgery at Alexandra Hospital

On 21 June, Robert* noticed a lump towards the bottom of his stomach. He made an appointment with his GP the following day, who diagnosed a left-sided inguinal hernia.

A few months later, Robert underwent surgery to repair the hernia at Alexandra Hospital, Redditch. His surgeon told him it was a routine procedure. The risk of infertility and/or damage to his reproductive organs, was not discussed with him. Had he been aware of this, he would have taken necessary precautions such as freezing his sperm.

During the procedure, the surgeon's scissors caught Robert's vas, resulting in a partial tear of the vas deferens (the duct that conveys sperm from the testicle to the urethra), rendering him infertile. The surgical errors were relayed to Robert and his wife, but were considerably downplayed.

Robert was discharged home the following day. He spent several weeks in excruciating pain due to major swelling on his scrotum. He called the ward at Alexandra Hospital soon after he was discharged but was advised swelling was a normal side-effect of the procedure and that it would soon subside.

A few months later, Robert attended a follow-up appointment. He was told that the surgery had had an adverse impact on his fertility, but that the exact cause of this could not be identified.

Robert therefore attended Birmingham Women's Hospital for a semen test, where he was advised that his sperm count was zero. This was confirmed by a repeat sperm test a few months later.

Robert next attended a further follow-up appointment with his consultant urologist. Surgical error was noted to be the cause of his zero sperm count.

Robert contacted Fieldfisher having read a similar case run by Samantha Critchley.

Arti Shah began investigations and a letter of claim was served on Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Trust responded and, although it accepted Robert would not have suffered damage and thus became infertile were it not for the initial surgery, they denied liability on the grounds that Robert had been made aware of the possible complications, which included damage to the vas deferens.

Further investigations followed and the Trust eventually accepted liability. Settlement was recently reached ahead of mediation.

At the end of the case, Robert said:

"It has been a long and difficult journey over the past 5 years. Arti and her secretary Jane have always been there to reassure me and walk me through the process at each stage.

"Me and my wife trusted Arti’s professional decisions throughout and we are both happy with the final outcome and ready to move on with our lives.

"Thank you Arti, Jane & Fieldfisher for taking this case on for me."

*name changed

Contact us

For further information about surgery negligence claims, please call Arti Shah on 0207 861 4139 or email arti.shah@fieldfisher.com.

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