Boy, two, is left infertile after doctors operate on the wrong testicle as his angry father lashes out that they ‘ruined my son’
- Unnamed toddler was admitted to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children on Monday
- Was due to have ‘minimal risk half-an-hour’ surgery for undescended testicle
- Doctors put a camera ‘in the wrong side’ meaning the testicle would ‘never work’
A two-year-old boy has been left infertile after doctors accidentally operated on the wrong testicle.
The unnamed toddler was admitted to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children on Monday for a procedure to treat an undescended testicle, known as cryptorchidism.
After being told there was ‘minimal risk’, doctors called the boy’s parents, who have not been named to protect their son’s identity, into a room to tell them the operation ‘wasn’t a success’.
They were told a surgeon mistakenly inserted a camera ‘into the wrong side’, meaning their son’s healthy testicle would ‘never work’.
The angry father has lashed out at The University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which has apologised, saying surgeons have ‘destroyed everything and ruined my son’.
The unnamed toddler was admitted to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children (pictured) on Monday for an operation to treat an undescended testicle. The University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has apologised for the incident and launched an investigation
The boy’s father claims the youngster was referred to a specialist after doctors discovered one of his testicles had not descended during a routine check-up.
After being referred to a specialist and then on to the Bristol Royal, the couple were told the operation would take just half-an-hour.
But, more than two hours later, they had still not heard anything.
‘We were waiting and waiting,’ the boy’s father told the BBC. ‘After two-and-a-half hours the manager, surgeons and consultants came and I knew something was not right.
WHAT ARE UNDESCENDED TESTICLES?
Undescended testicles, known as cryptorchidism, occur when a baby boy’s testicles are in his abdomen rather than his scrotum.
In most cases the testicles gradually move down after three-to-six months.
Yet around one in 100 boys have testicles that will stay undescended unless treated.
During pregnancy, a boy’s testicles form in his abodmen and move down to the scrotum one-to-two months before birth.
It is unclear why some boys are born with their testicles undescended, with most cases being otherwise healthy.
Being born prematurely, having a low birth weight and a family history of the condition all raise a boy’s risk of cryptorchidism.
If necessary, treatment usually involves an operation, called an orchidopexy, to move the testicles to their correct position.
Surgery should be carried out before a boy’s first birthday.
This is due to cryptorchidism being linked to testicular cancer and infertility in later life.
‘Me and my wife started panicking, they called us into the office and told us things didn’t go right and the operation wasn’t a success.
‘I was very distressed, it was an awful disaster for a simple operation. They destroyed everything and they ruined my son.
‘They castrated him and now my son’s future life has dramatically changed.’
The boy’s mother also described the ordeal as ‘absolutely horrible’.
Speaking of the surgeons, she said: ‘They broke my heart and basically destroyed his future. I can’t find the words to explain how I’m feeling – there are no words. Even tears, I have no more tears.
‘We just hope for a miracle, this is what we hope.’
In a statement, the trust’s medical director Dr William Oldfield said: ‘On behalf of the Trust, I am deeply sorry that a serious incident has occurred in the treatment of a young child in our care and would like to offer our sincerest apologies.
‘As soon as our staff realised what had happened they met with the family to offer their apologies and explain what had happened.
‘We take patient safety and standards of clinical care very seriously and have begun a thorough investigation into this matter and will work with the family throughout this process.
‘I would again like to offer my apologies to the family for this incident.’
Around one in every 25 boys in the UK and three per cent in the US are born with cryptorchidism. Although their testicles usually descend on their own, one in 100 require treatment.
Surgery is recommended within the first year due to the condition being linked to infertility and testicular cancer in later life. But, worldwide, around 75 per cent of baby boys with cryptorchidism are operated on after 18 months.