Andrologists diagnose and treat many conditions that affect male sexual performance and fertility, but their services are also critical to the early detection of other potential health concerns. Men who suffer from sexual dysfunction or fertility concerns have a high risk of developing or suffering from hormone imbalances, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The Chicago andrologist medical malpractice attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represent those who have endured serious injury or lost loved ones because of a failed diagnosis or medical error during the routine treatment of sexual disorders or infertility. We understand the emotional, physical and financial toll that these types of injuries can have and do whatever it takes to see that our clients find restitution.
The Path to Andrology Begins With a Specialization in Urology
Before pursuing a career in andrology, doctors must have extensive knowledge about urology so that they are able to diagnose and treat the many conditions that can cause reproductive harm or sexual dysfunction. Their educational paths begin with medical school, where they may obtain a degree as a medical doctor or in osteopathy. From there, they complete a residency in urological medicine and enter a fellowship program that is focused on the sole practice of andrology.
Andrology fellowship programs can last between one and three years and aspiring andrologists learn most of the specific knowledge and skills needed to perform their duties while gaining hands on experience under the guidance of a qualified mentor. Once completing the requirements to become an andrologist, these specialists can command salaries averaging over $187,000 per year.
Our Chicago andrology malpractice lawyers appreciate the commitment that medical specialists have toward their education and training, but are also aware of the tendency for overworked medical professionals to make mistakes. In addition to completing the educational requirements to practice in a specialized field, we feel that it is only responsible for doctors to make provisions so that they may provide damages to those who suffer great harm due to those errors.
Andrologists Diagnose and Treat an Array of Male Reproductive Concerns
Men who are suffering from any type of sexual dysfunction, infertility or trauma to the sexual organs may seek treatment from an andrologist. These doctors are able to diagnose common urological disorders while offering support and care for those suffering from more serious injuries or medical complications. Some of the conditions they might treat include the following.
- Erectile dysfunction — the inability to get or maintain an erection becomes more common as men age and when they suffer from other medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. A diagnosis of erectile dysfunction can lead doctors to investigate other potential health concerns.
- Priapism — an erection that will not subside can be embarrassing and uncomfortable while threatening to damage the penis. Swift medical treatment is required to reduce the risk of permanent injury.
- Penile or testicular cancer — andrologists are able to diagnose and treat cancers of the genitals and often do so as part of a larger team of doctors. Their role is to provide information and feedback that will allow other specialists to perform their functions more effectively.
- Sexually transmitted disease — untreated STDs can damage reproductive organs and play a role in impotence or infertility. Andrologists may test patients for a sexually transmitted disease if their symptoms suggest the possibility.
- Trauma to reproductive organs — athletic accidents or blunt for trauma to the genitals can result in painful and embarrassing complications that men have difficulty discussing. An andrologist may be able to help restore normal sexual function.
- Infertility — over 7 million couples in the United States are unable to reproduce due to fertility issues and roughly half of those cases are due to male infertility. What is more alarming, however, is that men are much more likely to suffer life threatening medical conditions when they are infertile. This is because poor hormone production and regulation, cardiovascular disease and uncontrolled diabetes are common causes of infertility and erectile dysfunction.
- Gender dysphoria — those who are not comfortable identifying as men may undergo hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery. Andrologists help these patients make important decisions regarding their gender identification and help them through their transitions.
There are numerous tests and procedures available for the diagnosis of sexual disorders and infertility. Depending on the patient and condition, an andrologist may prescribe medication, suggest lifestyle changes or elect for surgical repair. Test procedures and treatment options can include the following.
- Biopsies — by extracting a small piece of tissue from an area of concern, the doctor can determine whether the patient is suffering from cancer by sending the sample to a lab.
- Sperm mapping — this procedure helps to determine if poor sperm production is contributing to infertility.
- Sperm revival — some men are unable to ejaculate, making it impossible for them to procreate without assistance. Sperm revival procedures extract sperm from the genitals which may be used to fertilize one of the significant other’s eggs.
- Varicocele repair — this common procedure reduces the size of enlarged veins in the scrotum, which may impact the ability of sperm to make it into the ejaculate.
- Ejaculatory duct resection — this procedure addresses problems in the ejaculatory duct which may impact performance and fertility.
- Hormone therapy — imbalances in the production of hormones are associated with a number of reproductive conditions, from erectile dysfunction to infertility to gender dysphoria. Andrologists may prescribe and administer hormone injections in conjunction with other medications to address these sexual performance issues and fertility concerns.
While at a first glance, it is easy to assume that male reproductive problems are independent of other medical concerns, this assumption is off base. In fact, the diagnosis of many common reproductive conditions and sexual disease can lead andrologists to refer their patients to other specialists on the suspicion that other areas of the body are contributing to their patients’ conditions. Since these problems are often interconnected, it is only responsible for andrologists to exercise caution.
The Key Causes of Andrologist Medical Malpractice
While the misdiagnosis of any medical condition can have far reaching consequences, the failure to identify sexual or reproductive dysfunction has the potential to be more catastrophic. In treating hormonal imbalances and abnormal lipid results, andrologists are able to indirectly reduce the chances of a heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism. Other negligent actions can permanently impact sexual function or the ability of a couple to conceive a child. Examples of malpractice include the following.
- Failed diagnosis or delay in treatment. In cases such as cancer or genital trauma, the quick identification and treatment of the condition has a direct impact on the patient’s prognosis. A missed diagnosis can result in an inability to perform sexually, the spread of cancer unabated and the development of medical conditions in other areas of the body.
- Failure to follow up with cancer patients. People who have survived cancer are at an increased risk of developing cancer in the future. Once a patient has been treated for any form of cancer, routine testing and monitoring can alert doctors to the return of cancer and improve the chance of catching and treating it early. On the other hand, if the patient is not tested regularly, his cancer may return and advance to later stages, where it can be far more difficult to treat.
- Surgical error. Deformities caused by surgical errors can cause emotional turmoil for men who are no longer able to perform or who may never have the opportunity to have children again.
- Misinterpretation of test results. Andrologists rely on blood, urine, saliva and sperm samples to determine whether further test procedures are required to provide a diagnosis. The misinterpretation of these test results can be the cause for further complications.
- Failure to refer patients to other specialists. Some conditions such as erectile dysfunction can be the result of other underlying factors, such as diabetes or heart disease. If an andrologist doesn’t refer patients to the appropriate specialists when other medical conditions may be at play, the patient may be able to hold the doctor accountable if he suffers an injury.
- Poor communication with patients or other specialists. Patients are often referred to andrologists by other doctors or specialists who are unable to diagnose or treat their specific conditions. It is important that they maintain open communication with every specialist involved in the patient’s treatment so that the patient is not provided with inaccurate information or results. The patient also needs to be involved in the treatment plan and understand what he needs to contribute in the way of lifestyle changes and behaviors.
Proficient and Experienced Andrologist Malpractice Lawyers
If you have been injured due to a surgical error, misdiagnosis or poor medical decision, you may be entitled to compensation if your andrologist failed to act in an appropriate manner. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has helped thousands of clients recover the damages they needed following medical malpractice injuries. Your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of consortium, pain and suffering and out of pocket expenses may all contribute to the value of your claim.
Contact us today to be connected with one of our award winning Chicago andrologist medical malpractice attorneys today so that we can gather all of the information we need to perform a detailed investigation and case review. We will let you know more about your legal options so that you can make an informed decision on whether to pursue legal action and you will know exactly what you can expect from us if you retain our services. Since we work on a contingency basis, you are also assured that our services will cost nothing if we fail to secure compensation on your behalf.