Negligence In The Medical Profession

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Every act or omission by a healthcare professional can have dire results on his patient. Medical negligence is mainly the application of the general law of negligence on to the medical profession. The elements of negligence are the duty of care, breach of that duty of care, causation and actual damage to that person or property1. The same principles applies in medical negligence, however specific to this area, more attention is paid in the areas of causation and the level of standard of care that was given. Establishing a duty of care for a medical professional is usually straight forward, that by offering to treat a patient, the doctor is automatically in a relationship with that patient. A doctor patient relationship is established and the…show more content…
It is for the patient to prove that his doctor failed to act in a manner of a reasonably competent doctor which is based on skill, training and education. The courts would decide this based on the facts of the case. The test in determining the standard care of a professionals with special skills or knowledge was set out in Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee5, where McNair J relying on the Scottish case of Hunter v Hanley6, stated that, where a doctor is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with a practice that is accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art. He went on to comment that, a doctor would not be negligent if he is acting in accordance with a practice accepted by a responsible body of medical…show more content…
McNair J in Bolam stated what that standard of proof is based on and this was re-affirmed in Dr Soo Fook Mun v Foo Fio Na & Anor and another appeal10 to be applicable. In Dr Chin Yoon Hiap v Ng Eu Khoon & Ors and other appeals11, per Abdul Malek Ahmad JCA, that ‘... the standard of care expected of a medical practitioner is that he is not required to exercise the highest or a very high standard but only a fair and reasonable standard of care and skill in the treatment of his patients’. ‘The principle of law is well established that a practitioner cannot be held negligent if he treads the well-worn path; he cannot be held negligent if he follows what is the general and approved practice in the situation with which he is faced’12, and in Dr K S Sivananthan v The Government of Malaysia13, where it was held that a doctor is not negligent if he is acting in accordance to a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art merely because there is a body of opinion that takes a contrary
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