Visitor Question

Vocal cord damaged during surgery…

Submitted By: Brenda (San Diego, California)

I had surgery done on my thyroid gland. During surgery my vocal cord nerve was cut accidentally by the surgeon. The doctor had a nerve machine to guide him but still messed up. Once I woke up he told me my nerve was cut by accident. I now suffer for my voice sounding as tho I’m straining to talk, and my voice comes and goes. This will be permanent.

I’m wondering what recourse I have. It was clearly an error on the doctor’s part, but I don’t know what to do or how to get compensation for it. Any information you can give would be helpful. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Brenda,

From the facts you present you have a strong basis for a medical malpractice claim. Doctors have a legal duty of care to do everything reasonably possible to protect their patients from undue harm or injury.

You should immediately, or as soon as is reasonably possible, consult with an experienced malpractice attorney. Try and gather copies of all your medical records so the attorneys can review them. You have a legal right to copies of any and all of your medical records, including, but not limited to, admitting forms, doctors’ charts, surgery records, and more.

Your case is too serious to attempt handling on your own. There are many complicated legal procedures involved in pretrial discovery. You can be sure that the doctor and insurance company won’t negotiate with you unless represented by an attorney.

Most malpractice attorneys will not charge for an initial office consultation. Take advantage of this opportunity and meet with several.

Learn more here: Lawsuits for Surgical Malpractice

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


4 thoughts on “Vocal cord damaged during surgery…

  1. Tammy says:

    I had neck surgery in 2013 and they damaged my right vocal cord and it is paralyzed. I have voice therapy, injections and now getting ready to have a piece put in my cord to move it over to the center. I choke on my food, I get short of breath, and of course I cant speak.

    Everything works great for a few months after my injections, but they are so expensive and I have to pay for all this. I really want to find someone that has been through this.

  2. Cleo says:

    I read your letter and your case is like mine. I am 82 years old. I had a polyp on my vocal cord removed two weeks ago. I can barely speak. When I saw the doctor in his office, he did tell me accidentally while inserting the breathing tube, my left vocal cord got nicked.

    He suggested steroids, but being diabetic, after the first pill my sugar shot up over 100 points. It is possible I will never get my voice back. My comment is…my whole life will change… God bless all of us poor old souls.

  3. Kathy says:

    My husband had surgery on his neck. They nicked his vocal cords and he can barely speak.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I had intubation during a rotary cuff surgery that destroyed the lower half of my left vocal cord. I’ve had surgeries in 7 months to correct the condition and only now have a very faint voice. I am told I will never get my voice back.

    I’ve also had 3 months of voice therapy, told to do these exercises for life. I’ve consulted with 4 attorneys, the last one took 8 months to reject my case, all they did.

    Basically, I’m 65, they said it’s a risk to have intubation, and these things can happen. They have basically said since I’m retired, older, and have no income they don’t want to be bothered with it.

    They didn’t say this in direct terms, but you get the message. Looks like if you are a certain age, you no longer matter.

    I’ve decided to move on with my life and have portable mics for voice assistance, have learned how to repel people who ask stupid questions and enjoy my life as it is today.

    Having worked in a law field for 30 years, I more then know what an attorney is seeking, money.

    Live your life the best you can, flourish where you are, seek out medical help (I went to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix), voice therapy and learn to enjoy your life in all other realms.

    Good luck and God bless to anyone who has to go through any of these medical errors to their body by ignorant, unmotivated medical personnel. It’s not your fault for choosing them, it’s the fault of the system, hospital and medical profession today.

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