(ABC NEWS)- An eagle-eyed surgeon and social media are being credited with helping to save a woman’s life after the doctor took action online when he spotted a lump on the stranger’s neck when she appeared on an HGTV show.
Dr. Erich Voigt, a New York-based ear, nose and throat surgeon from NYU Langone Health, just happened to be watching “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” when he noticed a small lump on the neck of a woman featured in the program. It was something only a trained doctor would recognize as needing attention, he said.
“I noticed that she had a lump in her neck,” Voigt told ABC News. “And as a head and neck surgeon, I’m trained to sort of notice these things.”
Voigt immediately realized it could be serious and the woman had to see a doctor, though he had no idea who she was — and the program never mentioned her last name.
Voigt turned to his Facebook friends for help. He posted a clip from the program that showed the woman, and he asked his friends if they knew how to get in touch with her.
“I am watching a tv show and notice this woman has a left thyroid mass. She needs a sonogram and fine needle biopsy,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I wonder if she knows and hope it’s benign.”
Voigt let her know she needed a sonogram and a biopsy. Although already a brain cancer survivor, McGuinness’ doctors had not noticed the lump in her throat. She went to see a specialist, and eventually was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer.
Voigt lauded the “awesome power of Facebook and good people!” in a second post, after he connected with McGuinness and found out that she was getting treatment for Thyroid cancer.
“It’s just a miracle in my opinion that he happened to see this on TV,” McGuinness told ABC News. “I can’t express how grateful I am.”
Though they have chatted online and emailed, the eagle-eyed doctor and the woman who credits him with helping diagnose her.