Lost in translation: doctor accidentally performs vasectomy on man who only wanted circumcision

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A doctor is being investigated in Iowa after he performed a vasectomy on a man who only wanted a circumcision.
A court in Iowa, United States, opened an investigation after a complaint was made by a man who received the wrong urological surgery, according to the specialised news website Medscape. The patient only wanted a circumcision but ended up having a vasectomy.
It seems that the conflict was caused by a misunderstanding. The patient, named Zaw Zaw and of Burmese origin, did not speak English, and he needed to communicate with his urologist, Kevin Birusingh, through a translator.
After the procedure, the patient awoke to discover that he had not been circumcised and that he had in fact been left sterile.
He decided to sue the clinic, arguing that the surgeon had not been able to obtain valid informed consent and that the communication with the doctor and other key parts of the process had been negligent. With these arguments, the man obtained a favourable verdict in 2019, and the clinic was ordered to pay him more than 1.4 million dollars in compensation.
However, the clinic later decided to make an appeal, which has led the case to be opened again. The clinic claims that the lack of communication with other professionals involved does not violate any standards of medical care and that Iowa law does not stipulate that a lack of informed consent due to a patient’s misunderstanding is the doctor’s fault, as long as the doctor makes a “reasonable effort” to inform the patient.
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Tamsin Brown

Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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