Issue: January 2016
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Malpractice or Negligence Liability: Thyroid Disorders and Conditions

Introduction

Liability Risks for Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disorders or conditions affect as many as 20 million people in the United States, but more than half of those affected are not aware they have a thyroid problem. Twelve percent of the population will be affected by a thyroid disorder or condition at some point in their lives. January is National Thyroid Awareness Month.

 

Complications can arise in the diagnosis or treatment of thyroid disorders or conditions. Treatment options for thyroid disorders and conditions include medication, hormone replacement, and surgery, all of which present risks. Studies indicate that complications related to thyroid surgery are less likely to occur if the surgeon performs at least 25 of these surgeries per year. 

 

Injuries related to the diagnosis or treatment of thyroid disorders or conditions may give rise to medical malpractice or negligence claims, which can result in high settlements and awards. Attorneys, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, and others at risk for liability should be aware of the types of litigation issues that may arise in connection with a thyroid-related injury.


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed to establish medical malpractice in the diagnosis or treatment of a thyroid disorder or condition? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?

Physicians:

How can liability for medical malpractice be avoided for an injury arising in connection with the diagnosis or treatment of a thyroid disorder or condition? And, what is a potential strategy for the physician to employ?

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy be avoided by proof that the health provider was not negligent or there was no coverage for the provider’s actions? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ? 

Employers:

Can an employer be subject to liability for an employee’s thyroid disorder or condition? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a provider’s liability for malpractice or negligence involving a thyroid disorder or condition.

Physicians:

Presented is a checklist of items a physician must consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence involving a thyroid disorder or condition.

Insurers:

The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of malpractice or health provider negligence involving a thyroid disorder or condition.

Employers:

Use this checklist to determine if the employee’s thyroid disorder or condition could be considered “work related” and occurred “in the course of the employment.”

Expert Analysis

What Does a Physician Need to Know About Diagnosing Thyroid Disease? 

Stephen Falk, MD, FACS

What Challenges Are Encountered When Diagnosing and Treating Thyroid Cancer?

Robert M. Bernstein, MD, FACE

Can Chemical Exposure Cause Thyroid Disorders or Thyroid System Disruption?

R. Thomas Zoeller, PhD

How Does Hypothyroidism Differ from Other Thyroid Diseases?

Kent Holtorf, MD

Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.  


Reasons To Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.


Reasons To Go To Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to take the action to trial.  


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving thyroid disorders and conditions?



Medical Examples

Thyroid Disorders and Conditions

This section provides detailed medical information on thyroid disorder and disease terminology, etiology, symptoms, and diagnosis and treatment. Also discussed is the patient’s prognosis and ability to work.



Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on thyroid disorders and conditions.


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Malpractice or Negligence Liability: Thyroid Disorders and Conditions

Table of Contents
Introduction

Expert Analysis
   Stephen Falk, MD, FACS
   Robert M. Bernstein, MD, FACE
   R. Thomas Zoeller, PhD
   Kent Holtorf, MD

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy
   Attorneys
   Physicians and Health Providers
   Insurers
   Employers and Risk Managers

Practice the Technique: Checklists
   Attorney Checklist
   Physician Checklist
   Insurer Checklist
   Employer Checklist

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Reasons To Reach Settlement

Reasons To Go To Trial

Jury Awards and Settlements

Thyroid Disorders and Conditions

Law and Medicine Resources