A MAN who was left in agony after his testicle flipped the wrong way plans to take legal action against a health board after he says he was forced to fly abroad for emergency treatment.

Antonio De Michele claims he faced a 14-hour wait for a scan at University Hospital Monklands in Airdrie before being sent home with antibiotics and painkillers.

The 37-year-old, who suffered with an issue that caused instability around his right testicle, told how after more hours of unbearable pain following his return home, he then went to University Hospital Hairmyres in East Kilbride. After another six-hour wait, he claims he was examined and told to continue with the two-week course handed out earlier in the day by medics.

Antonio, from Uddingston in South Lanarkshire, exclusively told the Glasgow Times: “The pain was horrendous, and it got so bad that I could barely walk or go to the bathroom.  It was obvious from the state I was in that something was very wrong.

“I knew it wasn’t an infection because this had happened previously, although the pain was never this intense. I could usually move it back into place but this time, the testicle turned the wrong way and I knew that I needed urgent help.

 “Despite explaining what had happened, I was sent home with painkillers and antibiotics and told to rest up. It seemed very odd to me as there was no infection showing, just swelling and my blood and urine tests were clear.

“I was concerned that I’d caused damage and knew from the level of agony I was experiencing that something was seriously wrong. After going to a second hospital on June 17 and getting the same response, I decided to book a private appointment at Ross Hall in Glasgow, where I was told they could do something in seven to 10 days."

Glasgow Times: Antonio De MicheleAntonio De Michele (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

Unable to endure another period of excruciating pain, Antonio, who works as a software developer, decided to fly to Italy and attend at the Ospedale del Mare Hospital in Naples, close to where he grew up.

Just two hours after landing, he was on an operating table being treated for testicle torsion – an emergency condition that occurs when the spermatic cord - which provides blood flow to the testicle - unexpectedly rotates, cutting off the blood supply and resulting in overwhelming pain and inflammation.

Antonio said: “The plane journey to Italy was horrendous and I felt like I was going to pass out on a few occasions. I had reached a point where sitting down for any length of time was almost impossible - and clearly this wasn’t going to get better with antibiotics.

“Even simple things like showering or putting on clothing left me practically in tears. The last thing I wanted to do was fork out hundreds of pounds on flights, but I felt it was the only option I had to get this fixed. I was also worried about the long-term damage this might be causing to my fertility.

“My parents, who live in Naples, were appalled that I had to travel back to Italy last month for treatment. Thankfully the surgeon manged to repair the problem and secure my testicles so that this won’t happen again.”

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Antonio claims that the hold-up in treating his condition has resulted in a long-term impact to his wellbeing.

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He explained: “Due to the delays I experienced, my right testicle is now unable to produce sperm the way it used to. It is badly damaged due to a lack of blood reaching it and that’s why time was of the essence with something like this.

“The surgeon in Italy was fantastic and said that I should have been dealt with straight away. That’s why I’m speaking out about my experience, so that others realise just how serious this can be. I’m furious at what has transpired.”

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Antonio has lodged a formal complaint with NHS Lanarkshire’s Patient Affairs Team and is taking legal advice on whether he should launch an action against the health board.

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He added: “The way I was treated is appalling. I should never have been put in a position where I had to travel abroad for an operation that, in my opinion, should have been carried out on the NHS.

“It’s had a huge impact on my life, I was put through weeks of unnecessary agony and had to take time off work to fly to Italy and then recover. Now I want the answers as to why I had to spend a lot  of money just to access treatment that as a tax paying British citizen I’m entitled to. This was an emergency and should have been treated as one.

“Why on earth did a surgeon in a foreign country need to step in to help when this could and should have been done by the NHS? I’m shocked at the way this has been handled.

“I’ve received a letter from the health board to say they have investigated the matter and my solicitor will now be taking this forward with them. I’m determined to take this all the way.”

Hospital chiefs told the Glasgow Times that the matter has been ‘robustly’ looked at.

Stephen Peebles, University Hospital Monklands site director, added: “NHS Lanarkshire has concluded a robust investigation into the issues raised under their complaint handling procedure and responded directly to the patient.

“Due to patient confidentiality, we therefore cannot make further comment at this time.”