Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tisdale v. Pruitt, Jr., M.D. case brief

Tisdale v. Pruitt, Jr., M.D. case brief summary
394 S.E.2d 857 (1990)

Appellant doctor challenged the judgment of the Charleston County Court (South Carolina) in favor of respondent patient in a medical malpractice action. The doctor filed a general denial and asserted the defenses of a medical emergency and the statute of limitations. The trial judge granted a directed verdict by reason of the statute of limitations as to the assault and battery cause of action. A jury then awarded actual and punitive damages.


The patient alleged negligence, recklessness and willfulness and lack of informed consent. The patient went to the doctor for a second opinion, as required by her insurance company, to determine the necessity of a dilation and currettage in order to terminate a problem pregnancy. Instead of giving an opinion the doctor performed the procedure and terminated the pregnancy. The doctor admitted that he did not read the chart, which showed that the patient was just there for a second opinion.


  • The court held that under the doctrine of informed consent, it was generally held that a physician who performed a diagnostic, therapeutic, or surgical procedure had a duty to disclose to a patient of sound mind, in the absence of an emergency that warranted immediate medical treatment, the diagnosis, the general nature of the contemplated procedure, the material risks involved in the procedure, the probability of success associated with the procedure, the prognosis if the procedure was not carried out, and the existence of any alternatives to the procedure. 
  • The court held that the evidence was not susceptible of the inference that the patient gave an informed consent, expressed or implied.

The court affirmed.

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