According to the Huffington Post on Tuesday, a British man who was scheduled to have surgery might not be able to have children after doctors operated on the wrong body part. The unidentified man was given an accidental vasectomy when he went to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital that is affiliated with the National Health Service, Britain's public healthcare system.
Royal Liverpool University Hospital medical director Dr. Peter Williams said in a statement, "We can confirm a patient who was scheduled to have a different minor urological procedure was wrongly given a vasectomy. We have apologized unreservedly to the patient and we are offering him our full support. We greatly regret the distress this has caused him."
The hospital doesn't know how the mistake happened, but it is investigating the matter to determine exactly how the patient ended up having the wrong procedure. It is reported that the man who chooses to remain anonymous has acquired lawyers who are asking for a six-figure settlement. The liability case could result in a figure in excess of $170,000 in compensation, according to Ian Cohen, a clinical negligence lawyer at Slater & Gordon.
The man has options if he still wants to have children. Although vasectomies are considered a permanent form of birth control for men, it is possible to reconnect the tubes that are severed in the procedure. The Houston Fertility Institute says that the success rate of reversing a vasectomy is generally between 40 and 50 percent. The institute also says that men who have had vasectomies may also be able to have children by extracting sperm to be used in in-vitro fertilization.
This is not the only time wrong surgeries have been performed on patients at the National Health Service. The hospital has come under fire before. In Dec. 2013, official statistics revealed that more than 150 patients suffered from botched procedures over a six-month period. In 37 of those cases, patients underwent surgery on the wrong body part, including a woman whose fallopian tubes were removed instead of her appendix.