Steven Haines experienced pain in his right testicle for 15 years. So, in 2013, he visited Dr. V. Spencer Long at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital in central Pennsylvania to see if he could alleviate the discomfort. An ultrasound showed that Haines’ testicle had atrophied, according to The Washington Post, due to scarring and damage from a previous injuring. Dr. Long scheduled a surgery to remove the testicle, a procedure known as an orchiectomy.
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When Haines woke up from the surgery, one of his testicles was missing—except not the right one. Instead, doctors removed his healthy left testicle.
“At this point it appeared that the left testicle and cord may actually have been removed instead of the right one,” Dr. Long wrote in a postoperative report, according to court records.
In 2014, Haines filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Long and J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital. Four years after the botched surgery, and three years after filing the lawsuit, a Pennsylvania jury has awarded $870,000 to Haines, who’s now 54.
A Huntingdon County jury on Wednesday found Long was “recklessly indifferent” and awarded Haines $620,000 for pain and suffering and $250,000 in punitive damages. Long declined to comment Friday.
Haines’ lawyer says the Mount Union man remains in pain, but has a “debilitating fear” of seeking further treatment for his problem. The attorney says Haines will need testosterone treatment for the rest of his life if he loses the remaining testicle.
It remains unclear as to how doctors removed the wrong testicle in the first place.
“The doctor gave an explanation that really made no anatomical or medical sense,” Hanes’s attorney, Braden Lepisto, told The Washington Post. “He claimed that he removed the testicle that was on the right side of the scrotum and the testicle had a spermatic cord that led to the left side of the body.”
“Essentially, the doctor claimed that the testicles had switched sides at some point.”