Doctor negligently transected the recurrent laryngeal nerve during parathyroid surgery
Jason Rubin settled a medical malpractice case for $750,000 against a head and neck surgeon who negligently cut plaintiff's recurrent laryngeal nerve during parathyroid surgery. Plaintiff, a 51 year old man, was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism and underwent parathyroid exploration to localize and remove the adenomatous parathyroid gland. During the procedure, the defendant surgeon cut what he believed to be a fibrous band in an effort to dissect the left superior parathyroid gland. This band was, in actuality, the patient's left recurrent laryngeal nerve, which enervates the left vocal cords. Another surgeon was called in to repair the nerve, but this was unsuccessful in restoring vocal cord function. As a result, plaintiff sustained permanent left vocal cord paralysis and has a hoarse, breathy voice with little volume.
We claimed that the surgeon was negligent in even attempting the dissect the left superior parathyroid gland because the size of the gland demonstrated that it was not adenomatous. Furthermore, we claimed that the surgeon failed to properly identify and protect the left recurrent laryngeal nerve.