Mr M, a 17 year old young man, attended the A&E department at Darenth Valley Hospital, Dartford, Kent, in the early hours of 21st January 2013 complaining of severe testicular pain.
Upon arrival Mr M had been vomiting due to intense pain, he was given morphine to treat his painful symptoms. A&E diagnosed Mr M with epididymitis after he described his level of pain as being severe.
Mr M continued vomiting and remained in extreme pain, but was discharged and advised by the doctor that his vomiting was a reaction to the morphine.
The next day Mr M returned to A&E because the pain killers had failed and his testicle got bigger. Mr M then saw a urologist who immediately diagnosed testicular torsion and scheduled an ultrasound for the next morning.
The ultrasound revealed no blood supply to the testicle; surgery was required as soon as possible.
The diagnosis of epididymitis was evidently wrong and fell below the standard of care expected of a reasonable,s first encounter with A&E on 21st January 2013. Moreover, Mr M should not have been discharged by the emergency department when he was vomiting and clearly in acute pain.
This unfortunate incident has left Mr M with an increased risk of sterility should anything happen to his remaining testicle in the future. He also suffered further unnecessary pain resulting from the delay in accurate diagnosis.
In response to his claim, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust admitted full liability; they sent their apologies to Mr M’s mother, declaring that ‘lessons have been learned’, and reforms have been put in place taking immediate effect to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.
Settlement negotiations were entered into with a view of compensating Mr M for the injury he suffered, increased risk of sterility, unnecessary pain due to delayed diagnosis, cosmetic blemish, and loss of opportunity regarding his education. The claim was settled in a timely manner for the sum of £21,000.
Steve Evans, who had conduct of the claim, commented:
“This unfortunate event demonstrates the tremendously life-altering effects of a negligent misdiagnosis. Mr M’s experience in A&E highlights the important balance that emergency departments need to strike between providing expeditious while thorough care.
We are pleased that Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust sensibly admitted full liability allowing for a quick settlement and justice for our Client. Most importantly, our Client was satisfied with the settlement and pleased to have received a formal apology from the Trust, knowing that preventative measures are now in place to guard against such an incident occurring to others in the future. ”