Thyroid gland procedures
1) Temporary vocal cord paralysis after thyroid surgery
A patient underwent thyroidectomy on the left side due to an abnormal specimen collected from the thyroid gland. Immediately after the operation, the patient suffered from hoarseness and the vocal cord nerve was assessed to have been damaged. During the follow-up period, the patient's voice returned to normal.
The partial thyroidectomy on the patient was medically justified. The procedure always involves the possibility of stretch damage due to tissue swelling or handling the nerve and it is not always possible to avoid the stretch damage in spite of the procedure being performed appropriately. However, the functioning of the vocal cord usually returns to normal within a follow-up period of one year after stretch damage.
Because the procedure was indicated and it was performed appropriately and the temporary damage to the vocal cord could not be avoided in spite of that, this was not a personal injury eligible for compensation.
2) Vocal cord paralysis after thyroid gland surgery
A patient underwent a thyroidectomy on the left side due to an abnormal specimen collected from the thyroid gland. The patient was diagnosed with permanent vocal cord paralysis on the left side after the operation.
The partial thyroidectomy on the patient was medically justified. Damage more severe than stretching had emerged in the vocal cord nerve during the operation. It should have been possible to avoid the permanent nerve damage as the tissue structure of the site was otherwise normal, meaning that there was no scarring caused by previous surgeries or, for example, tissue changes caused by cancer. Moreover, the resected section was not exceptionally large.
Because the permanent vocal cord paralysis could have been avoided with more careful surgical technique, the patient was compensated for the personal injury incurred.