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Unique Med Mal Lawsuit Filed after Erectile Dysfunction Problem

Most medical malpractice lawsuits fall under a few categories, like diagnosis errors and medication problems. But the total form that these matters can take are far more varied than that. Take a unique case discussed by Medscape Today News. The lawsuit is rooted in issues with a penile implant.

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem among men, with older men at a higher risk of facing the issue. A few options are available to help. The most common is use of medication; erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra are quite popular. Another option is a penile implant. The implant process is a surgical procedure. As discussed by the Mayo Clinic, it involves a device being inserted into the penis to aid in erections. Advances in the process in recent years have allowed the devices to be more effective than in the past.

In this case, the plaintiff is a 44-year old man who have the surgery performed in 2009. During the operation an inflatable implant was inserted in three pieces. Unfortunately, after the operation the man’s “scrotum swelled abnormally.” The plaintiff assumed that this swelling was a normal part of the operation. He also expected the swelling to eventually go down. But, it didn’t. In fact, he went back to the hospital four months later with an infection and complaints about an erection that would not go down.

It wasn’t until about eight months later that the tubing was punctured and the device was removed. In other words, the man essentially had an erection and swelling for eight months straight. A new surgery eventually implanted a replacement prosthesis.

He soon filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against his surgeon to receive some aid in his recovery. In documents filed in court which initiated the claim, the man explains how the situation led to significant pain and embarrassment. It does not take much imagination to understand how much a permanent erection could have affected his life. His complaint notes that he struggled to wear regular clothes, ride his motorcycle, and simply interact normally with family and friends..

The case eventually went to trial, as the parties could not reach a settlement beforehand. At trial the plaintiff explained his situation and what happened. However, the jury actually returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.

The Medscape story is scarce on the details of the specific legal arguments made by both sides. One can assume that the plaintiff suggested that the implantation procedure itself was negligent, leading to the swelling and the permanent erection. Alternatively, the defendants probably suggested that the infection was a separate problem not related to the implantation of the prosthesis at all. They probably argued that the plaintiff’s problems would have be minimized if he would have come forward earlier, instead of waiting four months.

In any event, this case is a reminder of the myriad of ways that these lawsuits can take. All interactions with medical care providers may result in some form of negligence which causes patient harm, from surgeries to prescriptions of drugs and everything in between.

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