Tragic surgery in Singapore

Botched surgery leads to small testicles and big breasts.


Jack Boulware
May 22, 2000 4:12PM (UTC)

An American man and his wife were having
fertility problems. Six years of marriage, and
still no kids. The man went to a urologist in
New York, who performed a varicocelectomy,
hoping to increase fertility by removing some
swollen veins from the man's left groin. Still
no kids.

While working in Singapore, the man
underwent further surgery. And then his
testicles shrunk and his breasts grew. Now
he's sterile, mad as hell and is suing the
doctor, reports the Straits Times.

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Singapore urology specialist Tan Hun Hoe
saw the patient and reportedly advised him
to undergo bilateral varicocelectomy. In April
1997, the man went into surgery at
Gleneagles Hospital, where at least 18 veins
were removed from both sides of his groin.
Sound unpleasant? You bet.

A day after the operation, the man called
Tan, complaining of a swollen and painful
scrotum. The doctor assured him the swelling
would subside and that he needed no further
treatment.

Four months later, however, the man went to
have his semen tested. The result: he was
sterile.

The 35-year-old man has now filed suit
against Tan and Gleneagles Hospital,
alleging negligence. The man claims more
side effects have resulted from the surgery.
Because his testicles have shrunk to the size
of a child's, they can no longer produce
sperm and male hormones, and so the man
has developed breasts. He is currently taking
a variety of drugs to counteract the side
effects -- certainly not the conclusion he'd
hoped for in attempting to have children.

The Singapore High Court hears the case this
week. Both Tan and the hospital are
expected to challenge the allegations,
suggesting that perhaps unwanted testicle
shrinkage and breast growth are just a part
of life.

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Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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