Jury Says 'Up Yours' To Rectal Exam Lawsuit

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]

RELATED
“Doctor Forces Rectal Exam, Patient Punches Doctor, Police Arrest Patient, Patient Sues”
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. forgottenpassword says:

    wasnt the whole issue about whether the man was coherent enough to refuse a particularly traumatic physical examination? (I’d call being forcibly held down & penetrated… traumatic).

    I know if I hurt my back, I dont want some doctor forcibly holding me down & sticking a finger up my ass! Proper procedure or not!

  2. Alex Chasick says:

    What’s the real truth? Will it ever see the light of day?

    I fear the real truth will never see the light of day, and will instead remain where the sun does not shine.

  3. Trai_Dep says:

    Seems to me that an anal massage might actually calm the guy down. Somewhat.

  4. forgottenpassword says:

    That’s it! I am going to get one of those medical alert bracelets that has a signed statement that I refuse being rectally probed in case of a head injury where I am still conscious & able to object. A liability waiver will be included.

    Damn doctors & their anal-probing god complexes!

  5. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    I LOVE that picture.

    Also, the world would be a lot better off if anxious, violent men got a little more in touch with their prostates.

  6. Conrad says:

    @PsychicPsycho3: Dr. Morin’s book on Anal Health is a decent read.

  7. no.no.notorious says:

    family guy did an episode about this. i had no idea someone was really dumb enough to sue for attempted assault. he will regret doing this if he really ever does have prostate cancer.

  8. sweetpea12 says:

    This picture is so creepily appropriate. I love it.

  9. thalia says:

    If a doctor needs to insert his finger in my ass to make sure I don’t have spinal damage, go right ahead. I’d rather feel violated then paralyzed any day.

  10. bnosach says:

    great picture to accompany the story! spot on

  11. forgottenpassword says:

    just want to also point out that having been in an emergency room quite a few timesmyself….the amount of compassion shown by the staff is often nonexistant. I guess its because they have to deal with all kinds of crap & they are desensitized to it (still no excuse). I can understand how being held down & penetrated against your will by a stonefaced & seemingly uncaring ER staff (who you thought are there to help) can be a tramatic experience… especially to someone from a third world country not used to how things are done here.

  12. DanC922 says:

    Rofl… Reminds me of a very similar Family Guy episode.

  13. richcreamerybutter says:

    I get the feeling he’s the kind of hyper-masculine dude who would equate a rectal probe to losing his anal virginity. AND HE WOULD THOROUGHLY ENJOY IT.

    @Trai_Dep: are you referring to “milking the prostate?”

  14. Alex Chasick says:

    @richcreamerybutter: “Milking the prostate” + your commenter name = best/worst combination ever. Maybe this can get crossposted on Fleshbot.

  15. @DanC922:

    Ha! I was thinking the same thing.

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m thankful the Consumerist photo wizzes restrained themselves from using the burn tool on the model’s fingertip.

    Maybe instead of “Do Not Resuscitate”, “Do Not Prostate”?

    richcreamerybutter & Alex Chasick, I’d like to see milking the prostate + It’s Not Butter.

    The best advice for squeemish, male potential car crash victims: have your honey buckle on a strap-on. And a vengeful, leering grin. STAT!

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    @forgottenpassword: Silly doctors in bustling, triage-stressed ERs only being concerned with, y’know, saving people’s lives. How thoughtless!

  18. Crazytree says:

    this is great news for sexually deviant doctors everywhere… they are now free to finger your butthole with relative immunity!

  19. Arcaynn says:

    I nominate this article for best marriage of photo and topic. ever.

  20. homerj says:

    “i will not turn a brown eye to this. i am going to sue that bastard and make him pay out the ass. i’m going to be real anal about this. no ifs, ands, or butts. sphincter.”

    /someone was going to post it

  21. unpolloloco says:

    Possible spinal injury –> probably a head injury = implied consent

  22. forgottenpassword says:

    @Crazytree:

    lol, I had a girlfriend once who was a nurse & dated a lot of doctors and she told me that a LOT of doctors are on the “freaky-deaky” side sexually. SHe had a theory that it was because they had to be so serious & professional all day long. Kinda like how japanese salaryman often are.

  23. HalOfBorg says:

  24. HalOfBorg says:

    I just HAD to…….

  25. MoreIceCream says:

    If jelly were not to be used, that’s a lawsuit.

  26. S-the-K says:

    You mean, it’s NOT normal to get a rectal exam every time one visits the doctor? Every time I go to the doctor, it’s the same thing: weight, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, rectum.

  27. IrisMR says:

    @forgottenpassword: Not even if it can possibly save your life and stop you from being paralyzed? Then you may need to get your priorities in order.

  28. keeper1616 says:

    FYI: Its normal to get a rectal exam after a suspected spinal injury. This is because the nerves that connect to the rectum are the last to leave the spinal cord, so if they are intact, the entire spinal column is.

  29. humphrmi says:

    @forgottenpassword: That’s a lot to fit on one bracelet. Maybe you’ll need one of those hub caps dangling from your neck.

  30. wgrune says:

    Not only does the picture perfectly fit the topic put the picture’s hover-over tag made me giggle…

  31. MonkeyMonk says:

    I was in a car accident in college and awoke in the hospital emergency with two nurses holding my ankles and a doctor inserting what felt like his entire fist into my rectum. Not the most pleasant thing to awaken to but I never thought about the possibility of suing. Is there a statute of limitations on this sort of thing?

  32. ElizabethD says:

    Oh fer crissake. Men need to get over it with this anal-exam phobia. (Hetero men, I mean.) By the time we reach 25 or so, we women have had all of our orifices examined so many times, we can almost sleep through it. “Violated” — hee hee. You guys don’t know from violated.

  33. Jon Mason says:

    a) Sue them for doing the rectal probe.
    b) Sue them for failing to do the rectal probe.

  34. apotheosis says:

    Picture + headline = crushing victory

  35. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    Hmmm — now if the doctor looked like the article pic, I wouldn’t be suing her, I’d be asking for her phone number.

    I tend to be attracted to the wild-eyed ones…

  36. statnut says:

    I bet if the woman in the pic was doing the rectal exam, he wouldnt have a problem. Heck, I’d let her give me a rectal exam.

  37. GiselleBeardchen says:

    “tossed his lawsuit” is that a little toungue in cheek humor?

  38. peacefuloutrage says:

    I love how harassing his girlfriend, whether anyone approves of it or not, is mentioned. It is not relevant to the case at all.

    If a vagrant tells me my car is on fire, it’s either true or it’s
    false. It doesn’t matter if he is a drug addict ex-convict and is
    homeless. Just as possesing several post-graduate degrees does not make
    someone somehow virtuous and incapable of lying when something is in
    their own best interests (like not being fired or protecting themselves
    and their place of employment from a large settlement).

  39. cmhbob says:

    The whole issue here was that he refused the exam multiple times, even begging them not to do it. Then they forcibly sedated and intubated him.

    There are other ways to check for a spinal injury besides rectal tone. I’m thinking that his flailing around and hitting the doctor were probably pretty strong indicators that he wasn’t injured.

    The ER staff was wrong to do what they did the way they did it.

  40. BugMeNot2 says:

    The ER staff just liked it…

  41. ninjatales says:

    The most important matter of the case is if Dr Susan Trocciola was hot or not.

  42. ninjatales says:

    and I love that freaky cover image!

  43. Trai_Dep says:

    Wait. You mean my doctor was supposed have used his finger?!

  44. vdragonmpc says:

    So, when this guy waits outside the doctor’s house and inserts a fun lawn care instrument it will be ok right?

    I know when I was younger a ‘dentist’ on an Army base decided the best way to remove one of my wisdom teeth was with:
    1 a local
    2 pliers
    3 vigorous yanking on my mouth

    This got him:
    1 knocked the hell out
    2 reprimanded
    3 demoted in rank

    I remember the nurses eyes when my anxiety and fear turned to murderous rage… She raised her hands back and pretty much watched the show. Afterwards when they were wiping the blood off my neck they said they couldnt believe he kept attempting it after my jaw started popping and the nurse kept hugging me telling me everything would be alright…

    Gotta love military medical care for dependants (I was 17)

    V

  45. Lkbardo says:

    @cmhbob:

    I actually work on a Trauma team. Our job is to do a rapid trauma-based exam the moment the patient rolls in the door. This is under the Advanced Trauma Life Support protocol as laid out by the American College of Surgeons. The goal is to identify any life-threatening problems within seconds, and get the patient to the OR fast if needed, because that is how you save lives in trauma.

    If a patient is thrashing around, and has a head injury, the standard of care is to sedate the patient so we can obtain a CT scan and rule out an acute head bleed. The patient’s lawyers claim that was assault and battery, which the the courts have already determined is not the case.

    We routinely defer the rectal exam in patients who (a) show no sign of spinal cord injury or (b) have a mechanism of injury that lowers our suspicion for a hidden abdominal or pelvic injury. The doctor in this case claims she did NOT do a rectal exam, which is probably true. Believe it or not, doing a rectal exam is not a highlight of most medical professionals’ day.

  46. Lkbardo says:

    Actually, the comments at the “tossed his lawsuit” link are pretty much what I just said. Check ‘em out.

  47. Caduceus says:

    It is a damn rectal exam. Nobody likes it, but you do it. Like taxes. A physician’s finger is smaller than your stool, especially if it is a female.

  48. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @forgottenpassword: Wait, I’m from “here” and I’m still not sure getting his ass fingerbanged qualifies as “how things are done here”.

    Maybe you inhabit a different, more rectally liberal america.

  49. SuperJdynamite says:

    “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.'”

    And then he didn’t say “unless your definition of ‘criminal’ is one who has been convicted of crimes, including ‘criminal mischief’, in which case I guess he is a criminal.”

  50. Kevino says:

    Sorry but I can’t help but think of the episode where on Family Guy where Peter gets his exam.

  51. bairdwallace says:

    @SuperJdynamite:Damn, you beat me to it!

  52. The Porkchop Express says:

    Mr. Marrone said of his client, “He’s not a perfect person, but he’s not a criminal by any standard of the word.

    IANAL, but I am a thinker and I believe that if you have been convicted of a crime that makes you a criminal in every sense of the word.

    Am I right?

  53. humphrmi says:

    “Why does everything today have to involve something going into or coming out of my ass!”

    -Cartman

  54. Charred says:

    Er, guys?

    The doctor said she “placed a finger in Mr. Persaud’s rectal area,” not “placed a finger in Mr. Persaud’s rectum.”

    That means on the bum, not in the bum.

  55. hankrearden says:

    Clarification from a qualified person in the field:

    1) Rectal exam is to evaluate for spinal trauma/decreased rectal tone
    2) A patient can decline anything, however(see 3)…
    3) In “emergent” (read “trauma, possibly life-threatening”) situations staff follow procedure to revive/resuscitate the patient; ditto if patient is not of sound mind in an emergent situation.

    Anyway – clearly the guy is just some random jackass who wants to make a quick buck by suing another physician doing their job.

    No bum-check = “I’m suing you because I am paralyzed and you should have known”.

    Go bum-check = “I’m suing you because you assaulted me”.

    ….

  56. theblackdog says:

    @forgottenpassword: I disagree that ER staff have no compassion. They do, but you have to respect them as well. If you’re screaming in the nurse’s face that she’s a “stupid white bitch” she’s not going to want to be quite so nice to you. Show them a little respect and they’ll be more pleasant.

  57. Ninjanice says:

    He probably would’ve sued if he was paralyzed and they didn’t do the rectal exam at his request. If I was the hospital, I’d rather pay a settlement for poking around in someone’s pooper than paying because someone omitted the prostate exam and the patient was paralyzed as a result.

  58. Novaload says:

    And then the doctor says, “OK, how many fingers am I holding up NOW?”

  59. EdnaLegume says:

    @UFIA: I spit soda laughing.