A family in Texas is suing a Houston-based doctor after their 4-year-old on son underwent an “unintended vasectomy” during a surgery.
The child was reportedly in the hospital for a hernia surgery at the time of the incident, according to Randy Sorrels, the family’s personal injury attorney. He told Fox4 that part of the procedure involved work near the child’s groin.
The attorney claimed the surgeon “cut the wrong piece of anatomy.”
“The surgeon, we think, cut accidentally the vas deferens, one of the tubes that carries reproductive semen in it. It could affect this young man for the rest of his life,” Mr Sorrels told the broadcaster.
Vasectomies are generally sought by men as a form of birth control. The operations are generally safe outpatient procedures and are relatively inexpensive and highly effective at preventing pregnancies. Though once a permanent procedure, many vasectomies can be reversed and, in some very rare cases, the vas deferens can actually grow back together.
The surgeon who operated on the boy has no history of malpractice and has otherwise never received any negative reports on their work.
Mistakes like the one made on the toddler are generally very rare due to safety precautions built into the surgery process.
“It’s not a common mistake at all,” Mr Sorrels said. “Before a doctor transects or cuts any part of the anatomy, they are supposed to positively identify what that anatomy is and then cut. Here, the doctor failed to accurately identify the anatomy that needed to be cut. Unfortunately, cut his vas deferens. That wasn’t found out until it was sent in for pathology.”
The attorney said his and the family’s top concern is for the boy’s health. They are considering options for reversing the procedure, but the attorney noted that doing so would require the boy to undergo more surgery.
“The family’s biggest concern is how this might affect their child physically, on the ability to have children in the future, and emotionally,” Mr Sorrells said. “[Along with] having to explain this to a potential partner who you are going to have children with.”
Mr Sorrels fears that the four-year-old will spend the rest of his life facing fertility issues.
The Texas Children’s Hospital said in a statement it could not comment on the incident. “Texas Children’s Hospital’s top priority is the health and well-being of our patient,” it said. “Due to patient privacy requirements, we are unable to comment.”