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First off, thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I appreciate it.
A couple of nights ago, I went in to have a epididymectomy procedure done on my left testicle. During the "pre-op" period, the nurse asked me "so JJ, what are we doing today" in which I replied 'I am having an epididymectomy procedure done on my left testicle'. I also said (in a playful manner) "it is MY left side, NOT your left side' and she replied that they would be sure to mark the side for the doctor which they did.
When I woke up from the procedure, I was obviously a little 'out of it' due to the anesthetics. The doctor came in and said that there was a "slight issue" during my procedure. He then told me that he had "accidentally" performed an epididymectomy on my right side and once he realized the mistake, he continued to complete the procedure on my left side (the correct side) as well.
If I am not mistaken, this means that my wife and I can no longer have children the "natural" way (intercourse). Is this correct? Also, is there something that I should say or do about the mistake? I am kind of at a loss here because my wife and I are upset due to the fact that we can't have anymore children. Do you have ANY suggestions?
Once again, thank you for your time!


First, we need to make sure about what happened.  There are multiple safeguards to guarantee that we don't "accidentally" do surgeries on the wrong side.

If a true epididymectomy was done on the right side by "accident" and you then had the epididymectomy on the correct left side, then you are correct that you will not be able to naturally have any children as there is no longer a clear path for sperm to go from the testicle to the semen. Sorry.

There may still be a way to get some sperm directly from the testis and do ICSI which is an assisted type of reproduction, but it's expensive and requires surgeries on both yourself and your wife.

Your other options are legal, not medical.  You may want to consult an attorney to better understand your legal rights and what monetary compensation you might be entitled to due to this mistake.  


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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