Remember Brian Persaud, the Brooklyn construction worker who tried to sue a New York hospital for performing a by-the-books rectal exam on him in 2003? On Monday, a Manhattan jury tossed his lawsuit, claiming he failed to show he suffered assault and battery. This means we’ll never get to hear both sides splitting hairs about what constitutes a full “rectal examination”—Persaud says the doctor did it, and the doctor says she didn’t.
Dr. Susan M. Trocciola, who was a resident in trauma medicine at the time, testified that she placed a finger in Mr. Persaud’s rectal area after conducting a physical exam of his spine to check for a spinal-cord injury.
Whether the rectal exam was performed was a matter of dispute. Mr. Persaud testified that he felt a finger inserted in his rectum, but Dr. Trocciola said the exam was never carried out.
What’s the real truth? Will it ever see the light of day?
Persaud’s own history and past behavior may have hurt his case:
Mr. Persaud was not necessarily the most sympathetic plaintiff. It emerged during the trial that Mr. Persaud, a native of Guyana who did not complete high school, had been convicted of two misdemeanors: attempted aggravated harassment for making phone calls to an ex-girlfriend’s mother in 2001 and criminal mischief for threatening a fellow motorist with a baseball bat after a minor car accident in 2007. Mr. Persaud had filed a workers’ compensation claim and also sued the owner of the site where he was injured. He was awarded about $4,000 in the compensation claim, but the suit was settled for a negligible sum, Mr. Marrone said.
In a phone interview, Mr. Marrone said of his client, “He’s not a perfect person, but he’s not a criminal by any standard of the word. He’s got a lot of anxiety. He reacts negatively in stressful situations and he has a short temper.”
“Jury Rejects Suit Over Attempted Rectal Exam” [New York Times "City Room" Blog]