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Sommers Schwartz attorney Andy Dragovic recently obtained a medical malpractice and civil rights settlement on behalf of an 18-year-old man who lost a testicle while serving jail time after officials failed to provide him with requested and needed medical attention.
The plaintiff was a few days into his sentence at the Genesee County Jail. During the night, he woke up with extreme scrotal pain so intense that it caused him to vomit. After asking a jail deputy for medical attention, a jail nurse examined him and noted swelling and a “nodule” on the plaintiff’s right testicle.
The nurse called the “on-call” jail doctor, who was in his office several miles away. After listening to the nurse describe the symptoms, the doctor knew or should have known that acute onset, severe scrotal pain, and swelling associated with vomiting is the classic presentation of testicular torsion. Testicular torsion is a true surgical emergency, and the standard of care required the doctor to send the patient for escalated evaluation and care. If a patient is not timely sent for escalated evaluation and care by a urologist, the patient will unnecessarily lose his testicle. Instead of doing that, the doctor waited until the next day, some thirty hours later, to see the patient. Even after the exam, the doctor still did not diagnose the torsion and continued the patient on the same ineffective and inappropriate treatment. Eleven days later, the doctor saw the plaintiff again and finally sent him to the ER as his scrotum was now even more swollen. The doctors there immediately recognize the torsion, but by then, the testicle was long since dead and had to be removed.
The lawsuit alleged medical malpractice and a violation of the plaintiff’s civil rights under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. After case evaluation, the parties agreed to a $237,500 settlement for the plaintiff.
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