British doctor mistakenly removes man's testicle then pretends it's still there

29 June 2016

A British surgeon has been struck off after mistakenly removing a patient's testicle and then lying to the man that it was still there but simply "small".

Dr Marwan Farouk removed the 60-year-old's whole right testicle in 2014 during a laparoscopic repair of a bilateral hernia and excision of an epididymal cyst, the UK Medical Practitioners Tribunal found.

When the patient awoke, Dr Farouk did not tell him that he'd removed the testicle. He instead told him: "You have a small right testicle but it won't give you any problems".

The tribunal was told Dr Farouk neglected to record the testicle removal in his operation notes.

When theatre staff suggested the tissue be sent to histology, he replied there was no need and instructed them to "chuck it", before dumping the testicle in the sharps bin.

When he returned to retrieve it, he found nurses had already removed it.

The patient testified that he was taken aback by Dr Farouk's comment that he had a small right testicle.

"It was memorable for a 60-year-old man to be told he had a small testicle," he told the tribunal. "It was not something I had ever been aware of and I remember thinking that I must speak to my GP about it."

Two weeks after the surgery, Dr Farouk wrote to the patient's GP that "some testicular tissue was damaged during the operation and was removed - this was confirmed on histology".

By this stage he knew that staff had told the hospital about the operation, prompting an investigation.

The tribunal held that Dr Farouk sought to mislead the patient and deliberately fudged the written record.

But it found he did not mislead the patient's GP and that the act of returning to the theatre to retrieve the binned testicle was not dishonest but an "ill-judged" attempt to rectify the situation.

Dr Farouk's defence submitted that he had worked under supervision without incident for 2 years and also presented numerous positive testimonials from colleagues, patients and his supervisor.

The tribunal accepted he was a proficient and well-respected surgeon but said it was not confident that he had acknowledged or accepted his "proven dishonesty" and ruled to strike him from the medical register.

Last Reviewed: 29 June 2016
Reproduced with kind permission from Medical Observer.

Online doctor

Need health advice right now?See an Australian-registered doctor on your phone
Medical Observer

Medical Observer

Our mission is to keep you informed and connected with breaking news and opinion across a broad range of topics. For nearly 30 years, our dedicated journalists and Doctors have brought readers the most important developments in clinical practice, research and politics.