Doctor Saves Woman's Life After Watching Her On HGTV

Due to the complicated nature of their profession, doctors need to have enhanced observational skills in order to perform their duties well.

Turns out, this skill doesn't only come handy at the clinic or in the operating room, but also while doing normal every day activities, like watching TV.

When Dr. Erich Voigt, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat surgeon) based in New York, sat down to watch an episode of HGTV's Beachfront Bargain Hunt, a waterfront fixer-upper wasn't the only thing that caught his attention.

The eagle-eyed doctor also noticed a suspicious lump on the neck on one of the episode's bargain hunters, Nicole McGuinness.

McGuiness always dreamed of owning a beach house in South Carolina, and after she successfully beat brain cancer, she wasn't going to wait any longer to make her dream come true. Little did she know that chasing her dream would also save her life for the second time.

While most people would probably never think much of the small bump on McGuinness's neck, as a trained professional, Voigt was alarmed.

"As a head and neck surgeon, I'm trained to sort of notice these things," he later told ABC News.

Dr. Erich VoigtNYU Langone

Worried that the lump could be cancerous, Voigt immediately tried to get in contact with McGuinness, but since her name was never mentioned on the show, his efforts were to no avail.

Unsure how to proceed, Voigt decided to look to social media for help.

"I felt obliged to let her know what I saw," he wrote.

On May 5, he shared a video post about his discovery on his Facebook page, and that set off a string of reactions that would change 32-year-old McGuinness's life forever.

"I am watching a TV show and notice this woman has a left thyroid mass," he wrote in the caption of the clip. "She needs a sonogram and fine needle biopsy. I wonder if she knows and hope it's benign. #beachfrontbargainhunt."

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, May 5, 2018

Thousands of people viewed the video, and it wasn't long after that McGuinness finally saw it too.

In a follow up post, Voigt wrote: "Several people saw the post... and eventually through numerous connections someone contacted the woman!" he wrote. "She was unaware that she had a mass. Her doctors had never noticed it."

Thankfully, McGuinness, who lives in Havelock, North Carolina, took the doctor's advice and got her throat checked by a specialist.

As Voigt feared, the mass was not benign, and she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Of course, McGuinness wasn't thrilled with the news, but she's thankful that it was found early.

According to an update from Voigt, McGuinness let him know that "she will be seeing a surgeon and getting appropriate treatment. He added, "I hope she will be cured! Awesome power of Facebook and good people!"

I'm posting this because several people have helped a stranger through the power of Facebook.... A few weeks ago, i was...

Posted by Erich P Voigt MD on Sunday, June 3, 2018

The pair finally met for the first time on Good Morning America, and McGuinness had the chance to publicly express her gratitude towards Voigt.

"It's just a miracle in my opinion that he happened to see this on TV," she said. "I can't express how grateful I am."

She continued, "Dr. Voigt, I'm going to try to say this without getting emotional. I have gone through a lot these past couple of years, and never expected to have to be a two-time cancer survivor. But without you keeping a vigilant eye, and watching that television show, who knows how long I would have gone on without that being checked. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much."

Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time that an HGTV show led to a thyroid cancer diagnosis.

In 2013, a registered nurse emailed show producers after noticing a lump on the neck of Flip or Flop host Tarek El Moussa.


He took her advice and went for tests, which confirmed that he did have cancer. His thyroid was removed as part of the treatment, and he also had to undergo thyroid radioactive iodine therapy.

Thankfully, his cancer finally went into remission.

Have you ever noticed something out of the ordinary while watching TV? Let us know in the comments!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.