Delay in diagnosis of acute testicular torsion

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on

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Master L. (age 15) woke up in the early morning on a Thursday with pain in his groin and left scrotum.  He called his parents who arranged for an urgent GP visit.  

Master L. was seen by his regular GP during morning surgery on the same day.  During the examination Master L. vomited.  The GP noted persistent and searing pain in the groin. He diagnosed Master L. with a viral infection and recorded epididymitis. Master L. was prescribed antibiotics and painkillers, and was told to come back if the symptoms persisted.

Master L. was unable to attend school on the following day. Over the weekend his situation did not improve and he was still in great pain.  On Monday; a second GP visit was arranged. This time Master L. was seen by a different GP. An immediate referral to hospital followed due to a differential diagnosis of testicular torsion.

At the hospital various scans and tests were performed and acute testicular torsion was diagnosed.  The severity of Master L.'s condition required immediate surgery.  He underwent surgical exploration of the scrotum on the same day which revealed a necrotic left testicle that had to be removed.  Master L. will need to consider if he wishes to have further surgery to insert a testicular implant. He has been advised to wait until he is 18 years old.

In this case the allegations are that had the GP considered and fully appreciated the described symptoms and the signs on the day they were presented to him, he would have referred Master L. for further examination. It is likely that he would have been diagnosed and treated for testicle torsion on that day. This would have avoided the loss of his testicle.  

In October 2013 Master L.'s litigation friend contacted our Clinical Negligence Team.  Patricia Wakeford, Associate, with many years of experience, conducted his claim against the GP's representative. Supportive evidence was obtained from a urologist. A Letter detailing allegations was sent to the GP representative. Shortly therefore, settlement was agreed in a five figure sum; to include the cost of future surgery. Due to Master M's age, Court approval was obtained and his compensation was paid in to the Court until he is 18 years of age.

If you would like more information, please contact Patricia Wakeford, contact details below.

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About the Author

Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
Email Patricia
023 8085 7310

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