Having a testicle biopsy is one thing. Waking up to find the testicle surgically removed is another.
This case is a difficult one and one that the plaintiff never dreamed would ever happen. The story unfolded fairly quietly to begin with when 23-year-old Karl Ruby (names have been changed to protect the victim and their family) went to a Tucson hospital to have a biopsy on his right testicle. It was evidently his understanding that the procedure would remain a simple biopsy, unless the biopsy showed the presence of cancer.
When Ruby woke up and found out he had lost his testicle, he assumed, as he had been told earlier, that he had cancer and that was why it was removed. Just a little over a week later during a follow-up appointment he got some stunning news – he did not have cancer. This revelation prompted Ruby to take his case to a medical malpractice lawyer and sue the hospital and the doctors involved in his surgery.
The case made it to court where the jury heard that Ruby had been in an alcohol related roll over, and went to the hospital for pain, which he thought was a result of the accident. The hospital subsequently phoned him and said he had a mass in his right testicle and needed a biopsy. Ruby went to the doctor who said he has a mass on his “left” testicle and calcium buildup on his right. He later corrected the choice of testicle after an ultrasound to the right testicle showed a mass. A biopsy was talked about again with the physician indicating the testicle would only be removed if cancerous.
This is the point where things got confusing, as the doctor supposedly told Ruby he’d do an excisional biopsy – meaning do the tests after the testicle was removed. Ruby said that was not right and he was later informed the mass was a hematoma. The defendants claim Ruby knew doctors could not do a biopsy without removing the testicle to avoid spreading cancer. In addition, hospital records seem to indicate Ruby told a nurse he was there to have his testicle removed.
As you may gather, this is one of those cases where a great deal will hinge on the evidence, the documents and how the case is presented during trial. “This isn’t going to be an easy case, but the attorney obviously felt that there was a good chance Ruby would win, and had the kind of proof that should stand up in court, or the case would not have gone to trial,” indicated Austin personal injury lawyer Brooks Schuelke.
Many medical malpractice lawyers are selective in the cases they choose to take to trial that involve medical malpractice. One reason for this is that many states, including Texas, have medical malpractice damage caps. This means that no matter how serious the injury is, there is an arbitrary limit on the amount of damages that the medical malpractice victim can recover.
This flies in the face of true justice and holding the wrongdoer completely accountable for their negligence. Unfortunately, in some cases of genuine malpractice the true damages would far exceed the cap and the case isn’t accepted because of the costs involved to the client.
“The other thing many people don’t realize is that not every bad medical outcome is the result of medical malpractice. For this reason, some people who feel they have a medical negligence case don’t really have a case. This is something that is difficult to explain, as perception is a big part of any person’s relationship to what happened to them. In any situation where you think you have been the victim of medical malpractice, take the time to consult with an attorney. You will need information to make informed decisions,” added Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer.
Contact Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC at https://www.civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.
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