A Pennsylvania man won nearly $900,000 in court after a nightmare surgery ended up removing the wrong body part.
Of course, operating on the wrong side of the body, while not common, is far from unheard of in the medical community. The New York Times estimates that it happens as many as 2,700 times per year in the U.S. But what happened to Steven Hanes still makes one squirm.
You see, Hanes’ doctor, Dr. Valley Spencer Long, removed the wrong testicle.
According to PennLive.com, Hanes suffered from chronic pain in his right testicle for 15 years before consulting with Long, a 77-year-old urologist. Long recommended removing the testicle, while Hanes later claimed there were other treatment options available that were less invasive.
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In surgery, it is not clear how Long mistook the healthy testicle from the other one, but he noted in a post-operative report that “it appeared” he may have made a mistake, per PennLive.com. Long told Hanes as much in a follow-up appointment.
As a result, Hanes’ attorney claimed in court, the 54-year-old Mount Union, Pennsylvania, man now suffers from a “debilitating” fear of receiving further treatment.
“Mr. Hanes is now forced to either live with the painful testicle or undergo treatment that could result in the loss of the remaining testicle, making him reliant on hormone therapy the rest of his life,” his lawyer, Braden Lepisto, said, per the Legal Intelligencer.
Hanes sued Long, alleging that he acted with reckless indifference during surgery and should have realized that the testicle he was operating on looked healthy when compared to the other, per the Daily Hornet.
A jury of 11 women and one man deliberated for 80 minutes before announcing that they sided with Hanes, awarding him $870,000 for future and past pain and suffering and punitive measures against Long.
According to the Daily Hornet, Long no longer practices surgery and is currently also being sued by the family of a patient who died after an operation.
As for Hanes, he has not undergone treatment to remove the right testicle and remains in pain, his lawyer said.
"Steve had the right testicle pain for 15 years before he went to see Dr. Long. He wanted to relieve the pain," Lepisto said. "Four years later Steve continues to have the pain. He's had more frequent pain."