Doctors had to remove a 4-year-old boy’s left testicle after he was misdiagnosed with constipation, according to a lawsuit filed recently in South Carolina.
The boy’s mother, Elizabeth Gilreath, says she took the then-4-year-old to the emergency room at Colleton Medical Center in Walterboro, South Carolina, “with symptoms that included testicular pain,” according to court filings. The doctor did not examine the boy’s testicles during the first visit in June 2016 and instead diagnosed him with constipation, the lawsuit says.
When the boy went back to the hospital two days later, doctors did examine his testicles with an ultrasound and found problems, according to the lawsuit. The boy had “left testicle torsion” and “evidence of necrosis,” the suit says.
Testicular torsion “requires immediate surgery to save the testicle,” according to the Kids Health website.
“It happens when the spermatic cord, which provides blood flow to the testicle, rotates and becomes twisted. The twisting cuts off the testicle’s blood supply and causes sudden pain and swelling,” the site says.
Necrosis means that the tissue was dying, according to the National Library of Medicine’s Medline site.
The boy’s mother says in the court filing that he had to be transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston where doctors removed his left testicle.
In a letter a month later, the lawsuit claims, the hospital’s vice president for risk management apologized to the boy’s parents. “We are very sorry his condition was not properly diagnosed on that date so there could be immediate intervention,” the letter read, according to the lawsuit.
A representative from the hospital, when contacted by McClatchy on Tuesday afternoon, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit names Colleton Medical Center, Dr. Lucinda Demarco and TeamHealth LLC as defendants.
The lawsuit asks for damages in excess of $25,000.
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