Art

Medical Negligence

Medical negligence has, however, been a controversial area in tort law, because of the predominance of the legal precedent established in the case of Bolam, which allowed standards to be set by the medical profession. This precedent has been increasingly questioned in the UK itself as well as in other countries, as being violative of fundamental individual rights. The issue of establishment of medical negligence is still changing and no clear cut principle has as yet emerged that could fully replace the Bolam principle. This study proposes to examine the rationale behind the Bolam principle and offers a comparison with other countries that have adopted differing principles of tort law on the issue of negligence by doctors and medical personnel. This study will aim to analyze the different positions that have been adopted, primarily in the U.K. via the changes to the Bolam principle as compared to the United States and Australia.Medical negligence is the main concern with arriving at a determination of whether the defendant who would be a medical practitioner of some sort, has come up to the standard of care that is owed to the patient6. If it may be determined that there has been a failure to achieve that standard, then the doctor could be held to be guilty of negligence, in much the same way as a failure to maintain the required standard of duty of care would find a defendant guilty under tort law. Medical Negligence in the United Kingdom was governed by the Bolam test, set forth in the case of Bolam v Friern Hospital, which stated that a doctor is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art….7 On the basis of this judgment, the question of whether or not a doctor is negligent is determined by whether or not his peers are of the view that s/he has acted within the parameters of standard practice.

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