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Il Giornale di Chirurgia

Medico legal aspects on neuromonitoring in thyroid surgery: informed consent on malpractice claims

Methods, Techniques, Drugs, 149 - 154
doi: 10.11138/gchir/2017.38.3.149
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Abstract
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Aim. The purpose of this paper is to provide a forensic profile framework of neuromonitoring in thyroid surgery, regarding the information given to the patient and its classification as part of professional liability in the event of recurrent injury.
Method. Evaluation and reflections on the required behaviour of the surgeon on providing details on the operation before the informed consent is given and to outline the possible legal implications regarding professional liability as a result of recurrent injury. In particular, if it is an obligation to inform the patient about using this method and if it is possible for the surgeon to freely choose whether to employ this method, which is still burdened by a certain percentage of error and for that reason it cannot be defined a "standard of care".
Results. To recognize neuromonitoring the role of standard of care in surgery of the thyroid means attribute a role of method able to avoid the surgeon to cause iatrogenic damage to the laryngeal nerve. For the foregoing reasons that is not true, determining false positives and false negatives, and this can be a double edged sword for the surgeon.
Conclusions. Although the progress in the field of thyroid surgery made in the last decade, currently there is no scientific reassuring evidence to completely avoid the possibility of producing an iatrogenic lesion of the laryngeal nerve. Information given to the patient prior to surgery should respect the requirements of completeness, freedom and honesty in order to allow the patient to self-determination.

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