Medical Law Cases

Use these popular medical law cases to help you write law essays, dissertations and pieces of law coursework.

Bolam V Friern hospital Management Committee (1957) WLR 582

Medical negligence

This case has become popular because it established a separate standard of test for medical negligence from that of a reasonable man test in other tort cases.

In this case, Bolam, a mental health patient, was advised to undergo electro convulsive therapy (ECT). Though there is varied opinion as to desirability to warn client of risk involved in the process at that time, he was not warned of the risk of fracture, the use of relevant drugs and physical restraint necessary. As a result, Bolam sustained fractured hip during this treatment and claimed for negligence.

In a claim for negligence, the court held that it is sufficient if the skill exercised is in accordance with accepted practice by 'responsible body of medical men' skilled in that particular art. This means that when the defendant is a doctor, to determine his or her liability for medical negligence, the test of a reasonable man is substituted for that of another doctor conducting the same practice.

Janaway V. Salford Health Authority (1989) AC 537

Conscientious objection

Conscientious objection defence under Section 4 (1) of the Abortion Act 1967 applied only to persons who are actually involved in the abortion operation the.

In this case, a secretary was requested to type a letter which referred a patient to a consultant in regards termination of the client's pregnancy. She refused to carry out the doctor's instruction claiming conscientious objection under section 4 (1) Abortion Act 1961. This section provided that "no person shall be under any duty, whether by contract or by any statutory or other legal requirement, to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection."

The court held that natural meaning of "participate in" should be given to it. It means taking part in the treatment for the purpose of termination the abortion.

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