On January 17, 2018, a New Jersey medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $8.5 million in favor of the plaintiff involving a claim that the defendant surgeon performed unnecessary thyroid removal surgery on her that left her with permanent injuries.
The 18-year-old woman had an appointment with the defendant surgeon in August 2013 after a complex cystic mass was found on her left thyroid lobe and her primary care physician and a radiologist recommended a fine needle aspiration of the mass. The New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant surgeon convinced the woman and her mother that the daughter needed surgery because the mass was likely cancerous.
The defendant surgeon’s surgical plan was to remove the woman’s left thyroid lobe and then send it to pathology for examination. The plan was to remove the woman’s right thyroid lobe if the pathology report came back positive for cancer. However, the defendant surgeon removed the woman’s entire thyroid, which was determined to be benign.
The defendant surgeon told the New Jersey medical malpractice jury that she removed the woman’s entire thyroid gland because the thyroid’s right lobe was covered with multiple blue dome cysts. The pathology report contradicted the defendant surgeon’s reason for removing the right lobe – there were no cysts found on the right lobe and neither lobe was cancerous.
The plaintiff alleged in her New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuit that her thyroid surgery was unnecessary, and that had the defendant surgeon performed the fine needle aspiration as recommended by the primary care physician and the radiologist, the aspiration procedure would have determined that the woman did not have thyroid cancer and therefore the surgery was totally unnecessary. The defense argued that the woman told the defendant surgeon that she was deathly afraid of needles and refused to have the fine needle aspiration procedure, and that the woman and her mother insisted on surgery without first having a biopsy.
As a result of having her thyroid removed, the woman suffered vocal cord paralysis that resulted in her losing her voice for two months. For one year following the surgery, the woman also suffered post traumatic stress disorder. The woman now suffers from a permanent anxiety disorder. She will also require permanent hormone replacement medication for the rest of her life.
If you had unnecessary surgery, surgery on the wrong side, surgery on the wrong body part, or suffered an unexpected medical outcome following surgery that may be the result of medical negligence, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state to learn about your rights and responsibilities and whether you may file a claim for compensation for the injuries and harms caused by the surgical malpractice.
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