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

Court of Appeals of South Carolina
394 S.E.2d 857 (1990)


Laurel Tisdale (plaintiff) consulted her long-time family physician regarding a problem she was having with a pregnancy. The physician recommended that a dilation and curettage (D and C) be performed and he arranged for her to be admitted to a hospital for further diagnosis and treatment. Before admission, Tisdale’s insurance carrier required her to obtain a second opinion and referred her to Dr. A. Bert Pruitt, Jr., (defendant). Tisdale went to Pruitt’s office and completed paperwork indicating that she was there solely for a second opinion. Pruitt failed to read her chart and proceeded not only to examine her but to perform the D & C, which he did inadequately. A second procedure was required and was performed by her family physician under general anesthesia at the hospital. Tisdale brought a medical malpractice action against Pruitt alleging assault and battery, negligence, recklessness and willfulness and claimed the D & C procedure was unauthorized and performed without obtaining informed consent. At trial, Tisdale testified that if any procedure was to be performed, she wanted it to be done by her own physician, not by Pruitt. The trial court granted a directed verdict on the assault and battery cause due to the statute of limitations and submitted the other causes of action to the jury which returned a verdict in favor of Tisdale for $5,000 in actual damages plus $25,000 in punitive damages. Pruitt appealed the verdict claiming that the jury should have been instructed on the law of implied consent, which he believed Tisdale gave by remaining silent prior to and during the D & C procedure.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Littlejohn, J.)

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