Texas 4-Year-Old Given 'Unintended' Vasectomy During Surgery

A family in Texas is suing a Houston doctor and hospital after the family's 4-year-old underwent "an unintended vasectomy" during surgery on the child's groin.

Randy Sorrels, a personal injury lawyer from Houston who is representing the boy's family, told Fox 4 that the operation, which happened in August 2021, was meant to treat a hernia in the groin area and at some point during the procedure, the toddler had an "unintended vasectomy."

Sorrels said that it was rare for someone to mistakenly give a vasectomy and that the surgeon "cut the wrong piece of anatomy."

Doctors stock photo
A stock photo of doctors in a hospital. A family in Texas is suing a Houston doctor and hospital after the family’s 4-year-old underwent “an unintended vasectomy” during surgery on the child’s groin. Getty

"The surgeon, we think, cut accidentally the vas deferens, one of the tubes that carries reproductive semen in it. It could affect this young man for the rest of his life," Sorrels told the local news channel.

"It is shocking a doctor would cut one of the reproductive components and not even know it," Sorrels told Newsweek. "It is more shocking the doctor refuses to be held accountable for this mistake. This lawsuit seeks to hold the doctor accountable."

The vas deferens, or sperm duct, carries the sperm from the testicles to the urethra, and it can't get into the semen or out of the body once it is cut. Having it cut means that it might be difficult for the boy to have children in the future, but Sorrels said further surgery and the advancement of technology may still allow him to still have kids.

Vasectomies are used as a form of birth control for men. It is one of the most effective methods at stopping pregnancy, being more than 99 percent effective, according to the U.K.'s National Health Service.

Sorrels said: "Before a doctor transects or cuts any part of the anatomy, they are supposed to positively identify what that anatomy is and then cut. Here, the doctor failed to accurately identify the anatomy that needed to be cut."

"The family's biggest concern is how this might affect their child physically, on the ability to have children in the future, and emotionally," he said. "[Along with] having to explain this to a potential partner who you are going to have children with."

The surgeon has no history of malpractice, according to Fox 4, citing online records.

The 4-year-old's family, releasing a statement to Newsweek through Sorrels, said: "We are saddened by this injury that was thrust onto our son unnaturally, through no fault of his own. We are dreading the conversations we will have to have with him in his teenage years, and know he will have to have serious conversations with whoever he will want to start a family with."

Responding to lawsuit, Texas Children's Hospital said in a statement to the news channel: "Texas Children's Hospital's top priority is the health and well-being of our patient. Due to patient privacy requirements, we are unable to comment."

Back in 2014, a doctor mistakenly gave a British man a vasectomy. Doctors at Royal Liverpool Hospital made the mistake on a man who thought he would be receiving a urological procedure. The hospital later apologized to the patient and offered him support.

Update 06/14/22 10:15 a.m. ET: This article was updated with quote from Randy Sorrels and the child's family.