2-year-old toddler left castrated after botched surgery

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"They castrated my son. He now won't be able to have any children and he won't be a normal person anymore. We are devastated..."

A 2-year-old boy was the victim of accidental castration after a surgery went horribly wrong.

The incident happened in the United Kingdom and the boy was left infertile after doctors operated on the wrong testicle.

“They castrated my son…”

According to news reports, the boy was admitted to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children on 17 December 2018, to treat an undescended left testicle. Apparently, his other testicle was healthy and working fine.

The problem of the undescended testicle was discovered during a routine check-up, and the surgery was meant to be a routine, “minimal risk” operation, which would only take 30 minutes.

The family grew worried when they were left waiting for more than 2.5 hours.

The boy’s father told Devonlive, “We waited for two-and-a-half hours and were then told there had been a catastrophic mistake and they had destroyed his right healthy testicle because they went in on the wrong side.”

“They castrated my son. He now won’t be able to have any children and he won’t be a normal person anymore. We are devastated”, he said.

“I can’t find the words to explain how I’m feeling – there are no words. Even tears, I have no more tears.”

“We just hope for a miracle, this is what we hope”, said the boy’s mother, to the BBC.

Doctors apologise after accidental castration of toddler

Meanwhile, the hospital has apologised to the child’s family after this terrible mistake. They have assured a thorough investigation into the matter.

In a statement, a spokesperson said, “As soon as our staff realised what had happened, they met with the family to offer their apologies and explain what had happened.”

“We take patient safety and standards of clinical care very seriously and have begun a thorough investigation into this matter and will work with the family throughout this process. I would again like to offer my apologies to the family for this incident.”

According to reports, the child will have to be on hormone treatment for the rest of his life.

What are undescended testicles?

Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism) is a common childhood condition where a boy’s testicles are not in their usual place in the scrotum. According to the NHS, about 1 in every 25 boys are born with undescended testicles.

In most cases no treatment is necessary, as the testicles will usually move down into the scrotum naturally during the first 3 to 6 months of life. But around 1 in 100 boys has testicles that stay undescended unless treated.

accidental castration


What causes undescended testicles?

During pregnancy, the testicles form inside a baby boy’s tummy (abdomen) before slowly moving down into the scrotum about a month or 2 before birth.

The exact reason why some boys are born with undescended testicles is unknown.

Factors that might increase the risk of an undescended testicle in a newborn include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Family history of undescended testicles or other problems of genital development
  • Conditions of the foetus that can restrict growth, such as Down syndrome or an abdominal wall defect
  • Alcohol use by the mother during pregnancy
  • Cigarette smoking by the mother or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Parents’ exposure to some pesticides

Diagnosis of undescended testicles

Undescended testicles are usually detected during the newborn physical examination carried out soon after birth, or during a routine check-up at 6 to 8 weeks.

Consult your doctor if you notice that 1 or both of your child’s testicles are not in the normal place within the scrotum.

Undescended testicles are usually not painful, and the child isn’t at risk of any immediate health problems. But they should be monitored by a doctor in case treatment is needed later on.

This is because boys with untreated undescended testicles can have fertility problems later on in life, and an increased risk of developing testicular cancer and hernia.

How undescended testicles are treated

If the testicles haven’t descended by 6 months, treatment will usually be recommended.

Treatment will usually involve an operation to move the testicles into the correct position inside the scrotum. This is a relatively straightforward operation with a good success rate.

Surgery is ideally carried out before 12 months of age. With early treatment, the risk of fertility problems and testicular cancer can be reduced.

Also READ: Caring for your baby boy’s genitals: A guide for parents

(Source: BBC, Devon Live, NHS, MayoClinic)

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