The parents of a young boy are suing Oregon Health & Science University over a surgery that rendered the child’s testicles useless.
The Oregonian reports that opening statements in the trial began last week in a lawsuit that seeks $1.5 million.
Surgeons had performed work on the boy, then 11 months old, in 2009 in order to move his undescended testicles. The parents contend the move was supposed to occur over the span of two surgeries, but doctors attempted to move the testicles all at once. OHSU attorney Nikola Jones says the parents gave the surgeon unrestricted consent to use the surgeon’s best judgment.
“There are inherent risks of surgery … despite a surgeon’s best efforts,” Jones said.
While the boy’s life expectancy is normal, he will have to undergo twice-monthly testosterone injections starting at age 11 for the rest of his life to ensure that he develops the secondary sexual characteristics of a man.
Some boys are born with undescended testicles. Often the testicles will descend on their own over time, but some boys need to undergo surgery in order to have the testicles moved.
The boy in the OHSU case was born with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, a rare condition in which boys are more likely to have undescended testicles.
The mother of the boy took the stand Friday and fought back emotion as she described the day of the surgery. She said when doctors came out to tell them the testicles had been lost, there was a little bit of shock.
Richard A. Lane, an attorney representing the parents, said the boy suffered “a devastating harm.”
“(The parents) are here to hold OHSU accountable,” Lane told jurors. “We are here to determine the care costs.”
The trial is scheduled to last until late next week.
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