IADC member, E. F. “Rick” Straub, Jr., of Whitlow, Roberts, Houston & Straub in Paducah, Kentucky, assisted by his partner, Jason Coltharp, successfully defended a general surgeon against a claim of medical negligence following a thyroidectomy in which the laryngeal nerve was damaged. The complication initially placed the patient into critical care for approximately 48 hours, from which she recovered, but with permanent partial vocal cord paralysis and resulting hoarseness and fatigue.
Plaintiff presented two experts who criticized the need for surgery, calling it unnecessary, and the fact of the complication. The defendant’s expert opined that the plaintiff suffered from hyperthyroidism that was resistant to medical therapy and that surgery was an appropriate option. Injury to the laryngeal nerve is a recognized complication of the procedure that can occur despite due care. After a jury trial the week of April 13, 2015, the jury found in favor of the doctor on the standard of care and no damages were awarded.