Dr. Tiesenga operated on Walkski's thyroid. Because of
scarring from previous surgeries, Tiesenga couldn't see what was going on
and accidentally cut a nerve resulting in Walski losing her voice. She sued.
This is a risk in all thyroid surgeries, but the risk can
be minimized by using care.
At trial, expert witnesses testified that there are
different techniques for how to perform the operation, and doctors are
split on which is the best method.
Walski sued Tiesenga for medical malpractice.
The Trial Court found for Tiesenga. Walski appealed.
The Appellate Court affirmed. Walski appealed.
The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed.
The Illinois Supreme Court found that in a medical
First, the plaintiff must establish the standard of care
through expert witnesses.
Then, the plaintiff must prove that the doctor was
unskillful or negligent in light of this standard of care. Again,
generally though expert witnesses.
The Court found that Walski had failed to establish what
the appropriate standard of care for a thyroid operation was. Therefore,
You can't just present testimony that another doctor
would have acted differently, since medicine is never an exact science.