All doctors have malpractice insurance; but usually, the insurance is designed to cover rather simple mistakes — they didn’t clean the wound well-enough before stitching it, or they gave the patient the wrong type of blood. But one Pennsylvania doctor wasn’t willing to settle for general incompetence — he decided sheer stupidity was a more admirable medical pursuit.
The story began in 2013, when Steven Hanes visited his urologist due to the unabated pain in his right testicle. After an ultrasound found that the testicle had “atrophied,” doctors decided to remove it, The Washington Post reports. The surgery, known as an orchiectomy, was successful. Unfortunately, doctors removed the wrong gonad.
Four years later, Hanes has learned the price of a testicle: $870,000. A jury of 11 women and one man reached the verdict in just over an hour. These sorts of surgeries and mistakes are, thankfully, extremely rare. One study by the Patient Safety Network found that they occur only once in 112,994 operations. To put that in perspective, the average general surgeon performs 398 surgeries per year, according to the National Institute of Health. If a surgeon practices for 30 years, he’ll perform just under 12,000 surgeries. Thus, it’s pretty unlikely that he will remove the wrong family jewel.
Hanes still has the testicle that’s causing him pain, but his lawyer said that he’s in no hurry to undergo another surgery. He explained that “[Hanes] really is just extremely fearful of trying to get any sort of treatment for it at this point because of what happened.” Luckily, he’ll be able to buy a pretty fancy ergonomic cushion to sit on with the $870k settlement.