An eagle-eyed doctor ‘saved’ a woman’s life after he noticed a lump on her throat as she appeared on a TV show.
Dr Erich Voigt was watching Beachfront Bargain Hunt when he noticed the lump on the left side of Nicole McGuinness’ throat.
Voigt, who is an otolaryngologist based in New York, then tracked Nicole down on Facebook.
This is the moment they met for the first time on Good Morning America:
Speaking to the New York Post, Dr Voigt said:
I was relaxing after a day of work, watching beautiful beach houses and day-dreaming. But then I noticed the lump.
It stood out — and I went from being relaxed to [thinking], gosh, she may have a medical problem.
Dr Voigt said the lump had a ‘specific asymmetrical look’ and ‘way of moving under the skin’ when she spoke – and this worried him.
I am watching a tv show and notice this woman has a left thyroid mass. She needs a sonogram and fine needle biopsy. I wonder if she knows and hope it’s benign. #beachfrontbargainhunt.
Posted by Erich P Voigt on Saturday, 5 May 2018
I thought, ‘I don’t think she knows she has this’, I felt obliged and sort of guilty, like I should let her know.
I paused my TV and rewound it. I had to make a choice whether to ignore it or actively try to contact her.
Dr Voigt then posted a clip of the programme on Facebook in a bid to find Nicole using the power of social media.
Two weeks later, the doctor managed to get in touch with Nicole, 32, and told her she needed to get a sonogram and a biopsy.
He wrote on Facebook:
I’m posting this because several people have helped a stranger through the power of Facebook.
A few weeks ago, I was watching a show about a couple getting a beach front property. I noted a lump on the neck of the woman buying the home. I felt obliged to let her know what I saw.
I posted a video of the woman on Facebook and said this woman needs a sonogram and biopsy of a neck mass, several people saw the post and eventually, through numerous connections, someone contacted the woman!
She was unaware that she had a mass. Her doctors had never noticed it. She went for the sonogram and biopsy I recommended. She just let me know.. the biopsy revealed thyroid cancer.
She will be seeing a surgeon and getting appropriate treatment and I hope she will be cured! Awesome power of Facebook and good people! [sic].
Nicole, who’s already a brain cancer survivor, told ABC News:
It’s just a miracle, in my opinion, that he happened to see this on television.
On Tuesday (June 5), Nicole met Dr Voigt for the first time on Good Morning America.
Dr Voigt said:
With anything that’s found early and before symptoms, there’s a better chance of recovery.
The situation is an example of technology finally doing some good.
Social media can generate fake news and negative feelings — but this time it was used in a good and positive way. It helped someone. It connected people.
Wishing Nicole all the best with her treatment, and big kudos to Dr Voigt.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).