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Rizzo v. Schiller

445 S.E.2d 153 (1994)

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Rizzo v. Schiller

Virginia Supreme Court

445 S.E.2d 153 (1994)

Facts

Pamela Rizzo (plaintiff) went to the hospital in labor with her son, Michael (plaintiff). While being admitted, Rizzo signed a general-consent form authorizing Dr. Maurice Schiller “to perform diagnostic or therapeutic medical and surgical procedures” on her. Rizzo began trying to push Michael out about 14 hours later. After 15 minutes or so without a delivery, but without any obvious emergency condition, Schiller told Rizzo that he was going to use forceps to deliver the baby. Rizzo said that before she could process this information enough to ask what it meant, Schiller was using the forceps to deliver Michael. The forceps injured Michael’s head, eventually causing him to have cerebral palsy. Rizzo sued Schiller, claiming that he failed to get her informed consent to use the forceps and that he committed medical malpractice. Rizzo’s medical expert testified that in this nonemergency situation, a reasonably prudent doctor would have informed Rizzo about using the forceps and given her an opportunity to help make the decision about whether to use them. The trial court dismissed the informed-consent claim, and a jury found that Schiller had not committed malpractice. Rizzo appealed the dismissal of her informed-consent claim.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hassell, J.)

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