April 1, 2018
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Testicular torsion (TT) is a urologic emergency with potentially devastating consequences and costs for providers and patients alike. With an annual incidence of approximately 4.5 per 100,000 males aged 1-25 years, TT is an uncommon medical condition, yet is the third most common cause of medical malpractice suit in this demographic. Because of varying presentations and physical exam findings, along with diagnostic imaging subject to individual interpretation, ED providers may miss this time-sensitive diagnosis.
New treatment approaches may be good options for a particular ED patient, but a bad outcome can trigger malpractice litigation alleging the standard of care was violated.
Antibiotics instead of surgery is a reasonable approach for some patients with early uncomplicated appendicitis, according to the authors of a recent study; however, it is not the standard of care.
According to one expert: “An entire case can be brought around one inadvertent slip-up."