Obiter Dicta

You Wanna Do What?

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On a construction site, a hard hat is required, and with good reason. Anything can happen—e.g., a plank could fall from who knows where and hit the hard hat, cutting open the worker’s brow. That’s what happened to Brian Persaud in May 2003.

Persaud, 38, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was conscious and alert when he was brought to the New York-Presby­terian Hospital/Weill Cornell Med­ical Center to have the wound stitched. When one of the medical per­sonnel told him he needed a rectal exam to check for spinal injury, Persaud questioned the opinion and denied permission, says his attorney, Gerard Marrone of Rego Park.

“He became agitated and was re­strained,” says Marrone. “He tried to free himself and accidentally struck the doctor. He was sedated with a drug that paralyzed his respiratory system.”

After the rectal exam, Persaud woke up choking, vomiting and handcuffed to a bed. Police put him in a holding cell for two days in just his underwear and a hospital gown, Marrone says.

A criminal charge against Persaud for striking the doctor was dropped, says Marrone. Persaud filed a civil lawsuit against the medical center on grounds of assault and battery, lack of consent and unlawful impris­onment.

Hospital spokesman Bryan Dotson was quoted as saying the lawsuit “is completely without merit, and we intend to contest it vigorously.”

Marrone says the case is set for trial on March 31. He adds that he was granted a motion to add punitive damages.

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