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Shoosmiths recently settled a case for a teenager left with residual problems as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment of testicular torsion. As he was only 16 years of age, the terms of settlement had to be approved by a Judge via a remote hearing.
At the age of 14, our young client returned home from school and complained of the sudden onset of pain in his abdomen and right testicle. His stepfather examined him and noticed that his right testicle was very swollen.
He was taken to hospital, where he was seen by several doctors. After being examined by a locum consultant surgeon, he was diagnosed with inflammation of his right testicle due to suspected infection. He was given the impression that this was not a serious condition and advised to return to hospital the following day for further investigations. He was discharged home the same day.
During a very restless night the pain and swelling in his right testicle increased. He felt dizzy and was sweating to the point that his bedsheets were soaked through. The following morning, his mother and stepfather took him back to the hospital, where he underwent an ultrasound scan. The sonographer reported that our client had suffered a complete torsion of the right testicle.
He was referred for emergency surgery, around 24 hours after the sudden onset of pain the day before. Due to the long delay in diagnosis and treatment of testicular torsion, our client’s right testicle had become necrotic and needed to be removed.
This was a very difficult time for our client who, in addition to the pain, suffering, loss of his right testicle and potential reduced fertility, was also teased at school because of his condition. He went on to suffer additional psychiatric injury.
Our client and his mother, who acted as his Litigation Friend, sought legal advice and instructed Sumit Morjaria, a senior associate solicitor in the medical negligence team at Shoosmiths, to pursue a claim against the hospital NHS Trust for the delay in diagnosis and treatment of testicular torsion.
The NHS Trust admitted liability and the claim was settled out of court for sum of compensation, which included damages for pain and suffering, partial costs of future fertility treatment if necessary, and the cost of future surgery to insert a prosthetic testicular implant and psychological therapy.
In cases involving children under the age of 18, the law requires acceptance of any final settlement to be approved by the Court at an “Infant Approval Hearing”. The purpose of the hearing is to protect the interests of the child by ensuring that the claim is not under-settled, and the compensation is appropriately managed and invested until they turn 18 years old.
Once a settlement amount had been agreed with the defendant, an application for an Infant Approval Hearing containing the relevant paperwork was prepared and submitted electronically to the Birmingham County Court.
As part of the application, our client who was then 16 years old, requested an immediate payment of part of his compensation to pay for a laptop and college course materials.
Following the implementation of social distancing measures due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hearing was conducted remotely by telephone conference. Our client and his mother, who was acting as his Litigation Friend, attended the hearing by telephone whilst at home. This helped to avoid any potential delay and risk of having to attend the Court in person due to the pandemic.
At the hearing, the Judge asked our client about his recovery in line with his medical and psychiatric reports. The Judge then considered and approved the settlement amount as well as our client’s request for an immediate payment of part of his compensation for educational purposes
The balance of compensation will be invested in the Court Funds Office until our client turns 18. He can then apply to the Court for the funds to be sent to him directly.
Our client and his Litigation Friend were very pleased with the outcome. Commenting on the case, our client’s mother and Litigation Friend remarked:
“I was very impressed with your service. I would highly recommend. Very professional and would instruct you again if needed.”