Failed Vasectomy Claims
A vasectomy is a simple procedure that can be performed if you do not want children, or any more than you already have. The process sees the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis being cut, blocked or sealed. However, mistakes can be made when the operation is performed, which can lead to unwanted pregnancy.
If this has happened to you and you believe you may be able to make a failed vasectomy claim, call Hospital Negligence for free on 0800 014 7481 or complete our enquiry form on this page and we will get back to you at a more convenient time.
Medical Errors Leading to Failed Vasectomies
While men who undergo a vasectomy may still have children due to natural hazards - such as the sperm duct having regrown - doctor error can also be to blame. Such mistakes include:
- Failed operative techniques, such as the sperm duct being cut incorrectly
- Incorrect post-operative advice, such as patients not being advised to use alternative forms of contraception during the four months or so it usually takes for sperm traces to disappear from semen
- Incorrect post-operative tests that suggest a man is infertile, when this is not the case
Unwanted pregnancy due to a failed vasectomy can have a devastating effect on individuals and couples. It can lead to suspicions of unfaithfulness, while the parents will often have to reassess their future plans.
Read About Failed Vasectomy Cases We've Handled
Case study: vasectomy errors lead to loss of testicle - £9,000
Timothy had to have one of his testicles removed after a negligently performed vasectomy causing him significant pain and suffering. His case was taken on by the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence and he was awarded £9,000 in compensation.
Conflicting information from two medical professionals
When Timothy made the decision to have a vasectomy he went to see his GP who referred him to a vasectomy clinic at a local healthcare centre. Timothy was told by the nurse who examined him that as his scrotum was quite tight on the right side he would need to undergo the vasectomy under a general anaesthetic.
Timothy was told he could have the procedure either at a local hospital or a surgical centre. As the waiting list was shorter at the surgical centre he opted to go there. The consultant surgeon who Timothy was referred to performed a very brief initial examination and told him that he would have the operation under a local anaesthetic, not a general one as the nurse had advised. Timothy mentioned this but was told by the consultant that she was just a nurse and as he was the surgeon he knew best.
The negligent procedure
A few days later Timothy attended for the operation and was told that it should take about 15 minutes to tie the tubes that carry the sperm on each side and he was given a local anaesthetic. While performing the procedure the surgeon also found that his scrotum was tight on the right side as the nurse had previously advised and Timothy could feel a lot of pulling and tugging, causing damage to the blood supply.
The surgeon recorded in his notes that he had located the tube on both sides and had tied them accordingly. However in actual fact he had not identified or tied the right tube at all and the vasectomy was not successful. Timothy was discharged and spent the following two days in bed recovering.
By the end of the second day Timothy noticed that his scrotum had begun to swell and had turned purple. By the next day the purple discolouration has spread to his penis and his scrotum continued to increase in size due to the swelling. Timothy also noticed that the scar on the right side was larger than the left and tightly stitched.
A few days later Timothy went to his GP as he was becoming increasingly worried about the condition of his scrotum. The GP diagnosed a haematoma (a collection of blood caused by internal bleeding) and prescribed antibiotics. Timothy was in extreme pain and spent the next few days in bed and barely able to eat. He returned to his GP but was told to wait until his follow-up appointment at the surgical centre. His condition continued to deteriorate and he was experiencing hot sweats and cold shivers.
Follow-up discovers negligence
When Timothy had his follow-up appointment he was seen by a different doctor who examined him and said that he would need to have an urgent operation to find out what went wrong. When Timothy was at home after being discharged from hospital he tried to change his dressing and found that his testicle was hanging out of the right hand side of his scrotum. He called the surgical centre and was told to come in urgently. Doctors found that the blood supply had been cut off to sections of flesh and a large area was dead. This was removed but the testicle could not be saved and was removed two days later.
Timothy contacted the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence for advice and he was later awarded £9.000 in compensation for the negligently performed vasectomy that resulted in him losing a testicle.
Case study: testicle lost through negligence - £9,000
Daniel (40) decided to have a vasectomy because his family was complete. He attended the local vasectomy clinic where he was examined by a specialist nurse. She found that the scrotum was quite tight, particularly on the right side, and suggested in her referral letter that a general anaesthetic would be appropriate as the right vas (tube conveying the semen) might be difficult to locate.
However, the surgeon at the surgical centre disagreed and performed the vasectomy under local anaesthetic. Daniel felt a lot of pulling and tugging during the operation, which took longer than planned, and required further top-up injections of anaesthetic. The operation notes say that segments of both the right and the left vas were excised and sent to the laboratory and that the operation was uncomplicated.
Complications following surgery
Following the surgery Daniel felt unwell and his scrotum began to swell and become discoloured. He also noticed that the scar on the right side of the scrotum was much longer and angrier looking than the one on the left. After a week Daniel returned to the centre where a haematoma (collection of blood) was diagnosed. He was advised to rest and return in a week if no better.
Loss of the testicle
Daniel experienced a great deal of pain and anxiety during that week and when he returned to the centre he was told that no specimen of the right vas had reached the laboratory and it was therefore presumed that only a partial vasectomy had been performed. He underwent an exploration of the right testicle and an abscess and haematoma were drained. There was quite a bit of necrotic (dead) tissue suggesting that the blood supply to the testicle was impaired.
The scrotum continued to be swollen and painful and after a few days an ultrasound scan was performed, which showed that there was no useful blood supply to the right testicle, which was then removed.
Daniel sought advice from Hospital Negligence as he believed that the operation had been undertaken negligently in that the blood supply to the right testicle had been damaged and the right vas had not been excised. Daniel also believed that had he had a general anaesthetic (as recommended by the nurse) the operation would have been easier to perform and the results more satisfactory.
The defendant denied any negligence but following negotiations the case was settled for £9,000 by one of the expert solicitors at Hospital Negligence.
How Does a Vasectomy Work?
A vasectomy is a form of male sterilisation favoured by some men who do not wish to have any, or any more, children. A minor operation, it involves the cutting, blocking or sealing of the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the penis.
Despite being a minor operation, a vasectomy - for perhaps obvious reasons - is a procedure that some men approach with apprehension. Like all surgical treatment, it is a process that holds some degree of danger and can have serious consequences should anything go wrong.
How a Vasectomy is Carried Out
A vasectomy is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and tends to be quick and relatively painless - it will most likely just cause slight discomfort. A general anaesthetic, which sees the individual put to sleep before the operation, may be required in some circumstances, such as when the person is allergic to local anaesthetic.
Following the operation, the individual will continue to have erections and ejaculate as before and their sex drive will not be diminished. Their semen will simply no longer contain sperm. There are two types of vasectomy - conventional and no-scalpel.
- Local anaesthetic is used to numb the skin of the scrotum
- Two 1cm-long incisions are made on each side of the scrotum
- The tube that carries sperm out of the testicles - called the vas deferens - is located
- The tubes are cut and a small section removed
- The ends of the tubes are tied or sealed using an instrument called a diathermy
- Dissolvable stitches are used to close up the incisions
- This is also performed under local anaesthetic
- Instead of incisions, a small puncture hole is made in the skin of the scrotum
- This is performed after the surgeon feels for the vas deferens under the skin and uses a clamp to hold them in place
- A small pair of forceps is used to expand the hole and provide easier access to the vas deferens, which are then cut and closed in the same way as a conventional vasectomy but without the need for stitches
One of the key differences between the two is that a no-scalpel procedure does not require stitches and will likely involve less bleeding.
Talk to Us
If you or somebody you know has suffered as a consequence of a failed vasectomy, you can get in touch with one of our specialist solicitors today for assistance. Call us for free on 0800 014 7481 or complete the enquiry form to see if you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.