After a professional prostate operation performed with a vasectomy (severing of the vas deferens), the patient cannot claim damages for erectile dysfunction because this is not due to the operation. The patient is also not entitled to damages for an ejaculatory disorder that occurred as an inevitable consequence of the operation and for the vasectomy that was performed, because he was correctly informed in this respect. This was decided by the 26th Civil Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm in a judgement of 19 July 2013, thus confirming the first-instance decision of the Regional Court of Paderborn.
In June 2008, the plaintiff from Rietberg, who was 62 years old at the time, had his prostate surgically reduced by the co-defendant doctors in the defendant hospital in Erwitte. After the operation, which involved a vasectomy, he demanded damages from the defendants, in particular compensation for pain and suffering in the amount of €20,000. He claimed that the operation had not been carried out properly due to an erectile dysfunction he had developed. In addition, he had not been properly informed about the vasectomy and possible ejaculation disorders.
The plaintiff's action for damages was unsuccessful. Following the findings of the medical expert, the 26th Civil Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm was unable to establish either a treatment error or errors in informing the plaintiff about the possible risks of the operation.
The ejaculatory disorder was an inevitable consequence of the operation.
The erectile dysfunction was not due to the surgery, but to other pre-existing conditions of the plaintiff. During the so-called open prostate surgery, there could not have been any injuries to nerves that caused erectile dysfunction. The plaintiff had been informed about the vasectomy, which had been medically indicated in order to avoid inflammation of the epididymis, and the risk of ejaculatory dysfunction on the basis of the information sheet he had signed. The defendant doctor, who had conducted the consultation, had also confirmed that he had been adequately informed.
Judgment of the 26th Civil Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm of 19.07.2013 (26 U 98/12)
Source: Press release of the OLG Hamm
Goldberg Attorneys at Law 2013
Lawyer Dirk Möller
Specialist lawyer for medical law