Doctor likely saved this woman's life after spotting cancer on TV
Every day, thousands of lives are saved thanks to the dedicated and diligent work of doctors worldwide - and, oftentimes, we take that for granted. Indeed, many of us may go for months - if not years - without realising we're living with serious medical conditions, and will only find out what's causing the problem after a trip to our local surgery.
However, on occasion, doctors will go above and beyond the call of duty and will use their expertise to help people whenever and wherever they can. Take Dr. Erich Voigt, for example, who recently tracked down a woman he'd seen on a TV show because he noticed a suspicious lump in her neck.
"I was relaxing after a day of work, watching beautiful beach houses and day-dreaming," Voigt said. "But then I noticed the lump. It stood out — and I went from being relaxed to [thinking], gosh, she may have a medical problem."
The doctor, an otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon) at NYU Langone Health, was enjoying HGTV’s Beachfront Bargain Hunt last month when he spotted what appeared to be a cancerous lump on the left side of a woman's neck. The woman in question was Nicole McGuinness, who was appearing as a guest on the show.
"I thought, I don’t think she knows she has this," he said. "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."
Getting in touch with her wouldn't be easy, however.
Voigt went to great lengths in order to find McGuinness, posting a clip from the show along with the hashtag #BeachFrontBargainHunt on social media. He hoped that enough people would read about his concerns and share the video footage so that - eventually - McGuinness herself would see the message.
"I am watching a TV show and notice this woman has a left thyroid mass," he wrote. "I wonder if she knows and hope it's benign."
Finally, after two weeks, Voigt got in touch with the 32-year-old woman, and strongly advised her to get a sonogram and a biopsy of the lump on her neck. She did as he said, and was shocked to find out that she had thyroid cancer. As well as feeling upset by the news, however, McGuinness was incredibly grateful that the doctor made the effort to contact her.
"It’s just a miracle, in my opinion, that he happened to see this on television," she said on Good Morning America this week, where she was joined by Voigt himself. The doctor and patient met for the first time on the show, and the introduction was quite emotional for both of them.
"From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much," she said to Dr. Voigt.
McGuinness has actually had a serious run-in with cancer before, as she was diagnosed with a stage four brain tumour back in 2015. She'd only just recovered from it, in fact, when she appeared on Beachfront Bargain Hunt.
The doctor feels confident that McGuinness will beat cancer again, though, and said, "With anything that’s found early and before symptoms, there’s a better chance of recovery."
Hopefully, McGuinness will be successful in her fight against cancer once again - and her recovery will be all thanks to Dr. Voigt, whose quick thinking may just have saved a life.