Boy, 4, given accidental vasectomy during hernia surgery, Texas lawsuit says

A doctor prepares for a surgical procedure at a hospital in this file photo. Molly Riley / The Associated Press

A Texas family is suing a local hospital, claiming their four-year-old son went into surgery for a routine hernia operation and came out with an accidental partial vasectomy.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the parents filed the lawsuit earlier this month against the Texas Children’s Hosptial and Dr. Susan L. Jarosz, claiming medical negligence. The parents and boy are not being named to protect their identity, but the child is identified as “R.B.” in the court papers.

The legal team overseeing the lawsuit claims the boy had been complaining about “right-sided scrotal swelling with no redness or pain.”

“The swelling would come and go,” the lawsuit says, “and would be less in the mornings and increase in the evenings.”

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Jarosz recommended an inguinal hernia repair procedure, which she performed in August. The procedure happens when an unborn baby’s testicles first grow in the stomach and do not eventually move to the scrotum via a tunnel in the body. Sometimes, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the tunnel does not close up and tissue can get inside, resulting in a hernia.

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If left untreated, these types of hernias lead to severe inflammation and can even be life-threatening.

However, the lawsuit says that a pathology report performed after the boy’s surgery found that tissue from R.B.’s vas deferens (the tube in which the sperm travels to the urethra) was in the hernia sac specimen — in other words, an “unintended vasectomy” was performed on the boy.

“So, the doctor went in laparoscopically, which means not an open incision, and doing it on a 2-D model, on television, failed to identify exactly what she was cutting and cut the wrong tube,” the family’s lawyer, Randy Sorrels, told KPRC 2.

The lawsuit alleges that R.B. will “more than likely contend with fertility issues later in life” and will have to face “future medical expenses, future pain, mental anguish, future disfigurement, physical impairment and future expenses for fertility treatments.”

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Fox 8 reports that it’s unclear if Jarosz is still working at the hospital, noting that her biography page has been removed from the hospital’s website.

Tom Omondi of Sorrels Law firm in Houston, who is representing the family, told Today that the boy is not currently in any pain but that the family is dealing with the emotional fallout.

“As a parent, you have tough conversations with your children, and this was thrust upon the family,” Omondi told Today. “They will have to cope with that. It’s a constant worry.”

The family is seeking between US$250,000 and US$1 million in damages, including future medical expenses and fertility treatments.

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