Bolam Test Essay

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In order to succeed in the case of medical negligence it must show that the medical professional had breach the duty of care. It is difficult in England and Wales to bring successful medical negligence claims, there are two major reason, the difficulty that are experienced when trying to prove breach of the duty of care and the problems of causation. Nonetheless in accessing the standard of care to be expected in areas of the law where the defendant is exercising special skill or knowledge, the court have accepted that within a profession or trade there may be differences of opinion in medical negligence applies to the profession like doctor using the different test. This was illustrated in the leading case of Bolam v Friern Barnet Hospital Management Committee. In this case the claimant was undergoing electro convulsive therapy as treatment for his mental illness. The doctor did not give any relaxant drugs and the claimant suffered a serious fracture. There was divided opinion amongst professionals as to whether relaxant drugs should be given. If they are given there is a very small risk of death, if they are not given there is a small risk of fractures. The claimant argued that the doctor was in breach of duty by not using the relaxant drug. The House of Lord (hereafter, HL) held that the doctor was not in breach of duty. McNair J given the leading judgement and formulated a test, later known as Bolam test, to determine whether the doctor’s act falls below the required standard of care . This test been interpreted that a doctor is not negligence if he has acted accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men who have possess similar skills. It is immaterial that there were number of different practices that were adopted and accepted as appropriate by different doctors, the role of the court was to listen to the expert

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