Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Negligence Claim Involving Doctors in Training

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Sep 03, 2020 | 0 Comments

Medical malpractice involves a doctor, physician, or healthcare worker who makes a mistake that causes injury to a patient. Doctors and hospitals may also be found negligent in their oversight or supervision over other workers. Similarly, a supervising doctor could be found responsible for oversight of a medical student who injures another, even if the injury victim is a fellow medical student. 

Medical Student Injured by Fellow Medical Student

In 2015, Abigail Murphy was a medical student at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University in Mississippi. During a clinical skills assessment course, Murphy got paired up with another classmate to take turns performing manual therapies on each other. The practice was proctored by an assistant professor, Dr. Richard Margaitis. 

One of the tests involved putting pressure on the lower back for the sacral spring test. The professor was reviewing the students' assessments and readministered the sacral spring test on Murphy. The professor then asked the other student to perform a treatment to treat left-on-left sacral torsion, which the student performed on Murphy. 

Not long after, Murphy began experiencing pain and swelling in the sacral region. She took some anti-inflammatory medication and iced the area. However, the pain did not go away and Murphy reported the back pain that developed after the sacral spring test. Dr. Margaitis and another professor treated Murphy's back pain, which continued. Murphy continued to suffer sacroiliac joint pain and filed a complaint against the doctors at the college for negligence and medical malpractice. 

Sacral Thrust Test for Lower Back Pain

The sacral thrust test, or sacral spring test, is one type of test available to help evaluate sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The sacroiliac joints connect the lower spine to the pelvis. Inflammation of the joint, or sacroiliitis, can cause pain in the buttocks or lower back, which can radiate down the legs or into the groin. The pain may worsen on prolonged standing or going up stairs. Causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction can include a traumatic injury, arthritis, or pregnancy.

The sacral thrust can help identify the source of the patient's pain and determine if it may be related to sacroiliac joint problems. This and other palpation tests have varying degrees of success and may not be as reliable as injections or imaging. The sacral thrust test involves putting direct force to the midline of the sacrum at the apex of the curve of the sacrum, near the upper center of the buttocks. The test puts pressure on both left and right sacroiliac joints simultaneously. 

Other forms of evaluation of sacroiliac pain involve injection of a local anesthetic into the sacroiliac joint. Pain provocation tests, like the sacral thrust, are not always reliable. A multitest approach may be more reliable in evaluating joint dysfunction. The other pain provocation tests include: 

  • Distraction test
  • Compression test
  • Thigh thrust test
  • Gaenslen's test

Malpractice in Causing Back Pain

Back pain patients often suffer for years, with symptoms getting worse. Medical evaluations and treatments do not always work, and in the worst cases, negligence can make the injury worse. Back injuries may leave individuals suffering chronic pain, requiring pain medication, and leave the victim unable to find gainful employment. 

If you suffered an injury or a doctor negligently supervised your back pain care, speak with a medical malpractice attorney who has experience with these cases. To discuss your case with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today. 

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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