Imagine going into the hospital for a minor operation – only to get a much more serious one instead.
That’s what happened in February to a man from Liverpool, England, who had gone into surgery at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. The patient was scheduled to undergo a minor urological procedure, but doctors carried out the operation on the “wrong site,” and the man was ultimately given a vasectomy by accident, the Telegraph reported.
According to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, it appears that the surgeon didn’t follow the World Health Organization surgical safety checklist when performing the operation.
The surgeon responsible for the incident has been suspended, pending the results of an internal investigation. The patient has not been identified by the England’s National Health Service (NHS) Trust due to patient confidentiality.
"We can confirm a patient who was scheduled to have a different minor urological procedure was wrongly given a vasectomy,” said Dr. Peter Williams, medical director for Royal Liverpool Hospital. "We have apologized unreservedly to the patient, and we are offering him our full support. We greatly regret the distress this has caused him.”
A vasectomy is a procedure that involves severing or blocking a man’s vasa deferentia – the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the penis. Doctors have been trying to reverse the botched procedure, as these tubes can sometimes be reconnected through a vasovasostomy, but the patient must wait see if he is still capable of having children.
The hospital claims that this is only their second “never event” – a medical mistake that should never occur. The first incident occurred in 2011, when a patient had the wrong teeth removed by accident. Now, the facility may face a six figure compensation claim for the wrongful vasectomy.
"We take any incident such as this extremely seriously and report them at the highest level in the trust and to our regulators,” Williams said. “…We care for around 90,000 inpatient and day-case patients a year and carry out over 25,000 surgical procedures.”