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April 28, 1969

Thyroid Crisis and the Law

Author Affiliations

Postgraduate School, Long Island University Greenvale, LI, NY

JAMA. 1969;208(4):695-696. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160040103025

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To the Editor:—  Recent litigation concerning the death of a postthyroidectomy patient propels our attention to a complication which the older men of medicine thought had been relegated to the annals of medical history. To many of the younger physicians and surgeons this post-operative complication never has been encountered and to others it may have been considered as a medical myth. The subject matter of this presentation centers about thyroid crisis, sometimes labeled thyroid storm.

Report of a Case:—  The patient was a 25-year-old housewife admitted to a hospital for elective thyroidectomy. The history included two years' duration with pronounced signs of exophthalmic goiter manifesting themselves six to seven months prior to the hospital admission. There were no major illnesses or surgical procedures performed according to the history. The family history elicited the fact that her brother died of thyroid disease. Physical examination indicated that the patient's physical status was