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University Health Services, Inc. v. Piazzi
Georgia Superior Court
1986 WL 1167470 (1986)
Donna Piazzi was approximately 20 weeks pregnant and in an unconscious state when she was admitted to a hospital operated by University Health Services, Inc. (UHS) (plaintiff). Donna was pronounced brain-dead and put on life support. While Donna was on life support, the fetus reached the quickening stage. It was determined that in order for the fetus to survive, life support needed to be maintained. Donna’s husband, Robert Piazzi (defendant) requested that UHS terminate Donna’s life support, which would result in death to the fetus. UHS then filed a petition for a declaratory judgment that Donna’s life support should be maintained so that the fetus could continue to develop and eventually survive outside Donna’s womb. David Hadden, who claimed to be the father of the fetus, supported UHS’s request. A guardian ad litem appointed by the court also supported UHS’s request. The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the decision of whether life support must be maintained to protect an unborn fetus is beyond the court’s jurisdiction.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fleming, J.)
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