Four years after a doctor at Pennsylvania’s J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital removed one of Steven Hanes’ testicles by mistake, Hanes is seeing retribution in the form of $870,000 and an additional $250,000 in punitive damages. According to court documents obtained by the Washington Post, Hanes went to J.C Blair Memorial in 2013 to undergo a surgical removal of his right testicle to alleviate pain from a previous injury. Hanes awoke from his surgery to find his left testicle had been removed instead of the right one.
“At this point it appeared that the left testicle and cord may actually have been removed instead of the right one,” wrote surgeon Valley Spencer Long in his postoperative report.
Hanes filed a malpractice lawsuit against both Long and J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital in 2014. According to Hanes’ lawyer Braden Lepisto, it’s still unclear exactly how Long made the error.
“The doctor gave an explanation that really made no anatomical or medical sense,” Lepisto told the Post. “He claimed that he removed the testicle that was on the right side of the scrotum and the testicle had a spermatic cord that led to the left side of the body. Essentially, the doctor claimed that the testicles had switched sides at some point.”
A jury comprised of 11 women and one man took just under 90 minutes to side with Hanes.
In 2006, a study by the public Agency for Heathcare Research and Quality that analyzed over 3 million operations pegged the odds of such a mistake at one in 112,994. But there have been similar cases reported before.
According to Lepisto, Hanes is still suffering from pain in his remaining right testicle, and the botched operation has him leery of seeking additional treatment.