A patient has been awarded £125,000 damages after a surgeon at Furness General Hospital ‘removed too much skin’ during a circumcision operation, leaving him with significant penile dysfunction and unable to have sex.
The surgery was carried out in a bid to resolve difficulties the man had been experiencing when urinating. However, he was left suffering from ‘extremely buried penis’– a condition where the penis is covered by excess skin.
It has prevented him from being able to have sex and also unable to direct the flow of urination when standing or sitting.
As a result he has had to press a bucket against himself when going to the toilet ever since having the operation in 2012. The man says it left him suicidal and almost caused the breakdown of his marriage.
Hudgell Solicitors represented the man in legal action against University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, in which it was admitted too much skin was removed during the circumcision procedure.
It was also it admitted the treatment had not been appropriate for the patient, who was 54-years-old, and that he had not been fully warned of the increased risks of suffering the injuries he did, due to him being overweight at the time.
Independent medical experts, consulted as part of the legal case, said the operation should have been carried out alongside liposuction and skin-grafting, and that this would likely have left the patient with no long-term problems.
Impact on life ‘like that of a bereavement in terms struggling to adjust.’
“My life was ruined by this operation, it’s as simple as that,” said the man.
“I was told it would be a straight procedure to remove some skin from my penis and that all would be fine. However, after the operation I suffered an infection and when all the swelling had gone down I was pretty much left without a penis as it was buried in my body.
“I haven’t been able to go to the toilet normally since as I have no control when I go for a wee. It just shoots everywhere so I have to use a bucket. That has stopped me going out to restaurants or any days out as it is just so difficult and embarrassing.
“I’ve had experts come and see me and basically suggest that I wear a large nappy. I am not prepared to degrade myself any further by doing that.
“Before the operation I had a good sex life with my wife but that has been impossible since. That has been really difficult to handle. I basically go to bed unable to have any sexual activity with my wife. That has been taken from us and had a massive impact on our relationship.”
A consultant psychiatrist who assessed the man said he had been left ‘feeling humiliated, and that ‘his manhood had been taken away from him’. He said the impact on his life would have been ‘like that of a bereavement in terms struggling to adjust.’
GP advised man to pursue legal action and seek damages
The patient was advised to take legal advice by his family GP, leading to the action in which Rachel O’Connor, a medical negligence specialist at Hudgell Solicitors, negotiated the £125,000 damages settlement.
She said: “The problem my client faced initially was quite common in that he was finding it difficult to go to the toilet due to experiencing tightening of the foreskin, which was making it difficult to urinate.
“It was the view of independent medical experts that we consulted that a circumcision should never have been carried out in isolation and the matter was further worsened by the surgeon removing too much skin during the operation.
“The impact on my client’s life has been huge. He says he has gone from a happy go lucky person who had a good social life to someone who admits he has been moody and angry and feeling trapped in his home.
“He has been left unable to have a sexual relationship with his wife and this has understandably caused much upset, frustration and worry and he suffered from depression as a result of what happened. He has had feelings of self-harm and suffered from nightmares and flashbacks.
“There was suggestion of him having reconstructive surgery, but he lost all trust in the medical profession as a result of what happened and sadly other pre-existing conditions have prevented this from being an option.”
MPs calling for public inquiry into Trust’s urology department
The patient said he had been furious to read recently that the surgeon who carried out his operation, Kavinder Madhra, had been allowed to continue treating patients despite five complaints being made against him by both patients and doctors in 2014.
The complaints led to an investigation involving the Royal College of Surgeons and he was then referred to the GMC, which imposed a number of conditions on his practice after deciding his performance was unacceptable in September of last year. He resigned from his position the following month.
Mr Madhra has twice been suspended by the Trust due to concerns and is currently subject to an ongoing Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing which is set to make a decision if he is fit to practice next year.
Calls have been made by MPs in the area for a public inquiry into the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s urology department, something the Trust itself says it will support had ‘rightly received a high degree of press scrutiny’, led by local paper The Mail.
“I feel nothing but anger towards the man and the hospital trust for what has happened to me and it has only added to that anger and frustration to read about these complaints which date back so many years,” said the man.
“When I had my assessment a couple of weeks before surgery I was told I’d be having a dorsal slit which is an alternative to a full circumcision, but about five minutes before I was due to go into theatre he told me I was having a full procedure.
“He was basically saying he knew best and was quite arrogant about it so I signed the consent forms as I was literally just about to go in for surgery.
“I am glad I have taken legal action and been compensated, as that is recognition of the failings, but this sort of thing should not be happening to anybody. It has ruined my life and I wonder how many others have suffered too.
“We can’t thank Rachel O’Connor at Hudgell Solicitors enough as she has been brilliant in the support she has provided to us. We have spoken regularly throughout the case, sometimes twice a week, and she always reassured us and said she’d do her best to get a good result, and get admissions from the trust.
“It is really important to have someone prepared to help you as she did.”
(Picture: North-West Evening Mail)