Duty of Care of a Medical Practitioner

Topics: Duty of care, Physician, Medical malpractice Pages: 3 (899 words) Published: February 12, 2014
In Australian society, duty of care is to take reasonable care to not cause foreseeable harm to other individuals in any work place. Saying this the duty of care of a medical practitioner is superior considering the nature of their profession, where is they provide advice to people on health and medical conditions, but is the extent of their duty of care too expansive? Doctors are being sued way too frequently for negligence of cases that are generally not because the doctor didn’t use the required standard of care but because of an unanticipated outcome where the occurrence was no individuals fault. The causation of this situation is impacting citizens in our society. Negligence is the predominant theory of liability concerning allegations of medical malpractice, making this type of litigation part of tort law. An individual that takes medical negligence to court must prove the following four elements: a duty of care was owed by the medical practitioner or doctor; the doctor breached the applicable standard of care; the patient suffered an injury or loss; and the injury must have been caused by the actions of the doctor or medical practitioner. Not all medical errors are considered negligent. If a patient suffers a bad outcome from the medical treatment, they can’t automatically sue for compensation. One can only sue if the medical error was due to the practitioner not taking “reasonable care”. The law does not state that a doctor must perform his or her treatment perfectly, but instead that the doctor must take reasonable care. “It is expected of a professional person that he should show a fair, reasonable and competent degree of skill; it is not required that he should use highest degree of skill…” (Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957]) Stepping outside the hospital, if doctors see people in distress, or even if they see someone in serious need of help on the roadside or on a plane; if the doctor chooses to assist them, the doctor owes the...

Bibliography: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/02/civil-litigation-system-unfair-physicians.html
http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e6804?ijkey=BaelgfZySySGXMb&keytype=ref
http://www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/legalinformation/livinginthecommunity/Dutyofcare/Pages/Negligencedutyofcareandloss.aspx
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