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Failed Vasectomy Compensation Claims
There are many weighty personal, medical and economic reasons why a couple decide not to start a family or add an additional child to their existing one. The law currently recognises this right of a couple to limit the size of their family and one way that compensation can be sought for any negation of this right is by making a failed vasectomy claim for what is legally termed a ‘wrongful birth’ – if a third party can be shown to be responsible for that failed vasectomy (or sterilisation).
Your failed vasectomy – what compensation can cover
Although the compensation will cover the pain and suffering of the birth, the loss of earnings incurred during maternity leave, the cost of a further vasectomy procedure and, if the child is disabled, the cost of raising that disabled child, at the end of the day an event has occurred that was not planned for or intended and which might result, or have resulted in medical peril for the mother during the pregnancy or birth and have been contributory in causing financial hardship for the family. Our compensation claim team includes specialist medical negligence solicitors with plenty of experience of failed vasectomy and sterilisation claims and will be able to advise a couple who find themselves in this situation as the viability and potential value of such a claim.
To establish whether a claim for compensation is likely to be successful, a comprehensive investigation will be needed to establish if the incompetence or negligence of the doctor carrying out the vasectomy was to blame for the failure of the procedure. One of the first steps are solicitors will take is to find out whether or not the doctor in question had provided certain essential and critical information to his patient.
This information is about the length of time it takes for sperm to disappear from his patient’s semen (about 3-4 months after the procedure) and would instruct that the patient desist from unprotected sexual intercourse until that length of time had elapsed and, most importantly, until a number of medically examined semen samples had tested negative for the presence of sperm. If the doctor didn’t provide this information to his patient, a failed vasectomy claim could be made based on his negligence if the impregnation taken place within that 3-4 month period after the procedure.
Had the above advice actually been given, the 3-4 month period had elapsed, only protected sex engaged in and still pregnancy resulted then our attention moves on to investigating whether or not the procedure had been competently undertaken. This involves ordering a report from a medical specialist in the field who will fully investigate the reasons for the failure of the procedure.
Failed Vasectomies – the reasons
- A vasectomy procedure can fail for two main reasons. The most common cause is the phenomenon of ‘recanalisation’ whereby one or both the severed ends of the sperm carrying duct called the vas deferens, spontaneously form ‘spermatic granulomas’ which reconnect the two ends and allow a limited sperm flow. This occurs because the doctor carrying out the procedure had not left a large enough gap between the two ends or had failed to use the failsafe though additionally complex procedure called ‘fascial interpolation’ which completely prevents the two ends of the vas deferens reconnecting.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have produced recent studies showing that one in every two hundred vasectomies fails due to this growing back together of the vas deferens within 3-4 months of the procedure being undertaken and that one in every four thousand procedures will fail for this reason up to an incredible seventeen month afterwards.
- The second reason for failure provides another example of basic professional incompetence as it is due to the doctor misidentifying a ligament as the vas deferens and severing that instead. Whatever the nature of the incompetence or negligence, if it can be clearly demonstrated, then a failed vasectomy claim can be made and perhaps as a result a shocked and disrupted family provided with some recompense and support by way of any compensation awarded
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