A British man who was scheduled to have a different procedure might not be able to have children after doctors operated on the "wrong site."
The Telegraph reports that the incident occurred at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, which is affiliated with the National Health Service, Britain's public healthcare system.
"We can confirm a patient who was scheduled to have a different minor urological procedure was wrongly given a vasectomy," RLUH medical director Dr. Peter Williams said in a statement.
"We have apologized unreservedly to the patient and we are offering him our full support. We greatly regret the distress this has caused him," Williams said.
The hospital is investigating the matter to determine exactly how the patient, who remains anonymous, ended up having the wrong procedure.
Although vasectomies are considered a permanent form of birth control, it is possible to reconnect the tubes that are severed in the procedure.
The success rate of reversing a vasectomy is generally between 40 and 50 percent, according to the Houston Fertility Institute. However, The institute's website also notes that men who have had vasectomies may also be able to have children by extracting sperm to be used in in-vitro fertilization.
Lawyers told the Telegraph that the patient could be looking at a six-figure settlement.
"In a worst-case scenario -- sterility in a younger man with no children -- the trust might be liable for a figure in excess of £100,000 ($170,000) in compensation," Ian Cohen, a clinical negligence lawyer at Slater & Gordon, told the newspaper.
The National Health Service has come under fire for medical mishaps before. In December 2013, the Telegraph reported that more than 150 patients had suffered from botched procedures over a six-month period, according to official statistics.
In 37 of those cases, patients underwent surgery on the wrong part of the body, including a woman who had her fallopian tube removed instead of her appendix.
A report by Britain's National Center for Policy Analysis said that the number of blunders reported in that period were comparable to those reported in past years.