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Thursday, September 28th 2006

Battery From A Medical Student

A woman is seeking battery charges to be filed, after a medical student botched a supervised intubation.

The Indiana Supreme Court is considering whether a woman who had to have a second surgery after a medical student tore her esophagus during a botched procedure was a victim of battery.
Attorneys for W- Ruth Mullins say she signed documents saying she didn’t want students in the operating room, but doctors ignored her wishes.


Justice Frank Sullivan argued that the law requires that harm be intended to fit the definition of battery.

From Kevin, MD, take the comments with a grain of salt but here is what one physician’s understanding is:

Most teaching hospitals require consent for participation of residents and medical students as part of routine admission; that is pretty clearly understood when you go to a teaching hospital.

The patient will just have to make do with a malpractice claim against the attending without the slam-dunk reinforcement of a criminal conviction against the student.


The patient may express a wish not to be treated by trainees. That aside, many teaching hospitals have general consent to have trainees participate in care as part of admissions paperwork. But whether consent was given or not isn’t the issue here. The issue is whether the lack of consent constituted battery.