Clinical Negligence Cases: When the Bolam Test Does Not Apply – Ropewalk Clinical Negligence Blog

Posted April 21st, 2021 in chambers articles, doctors, medical treatment, negligence, news by tracey

‘The law requires medical practitioners to use diligence, care, knowledge, skill and caution in administering treatment to a patient. The question of whether a medical practitioner has met the requisite standard of care is often considered by reference to the test laid down in the case of Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957] WLR 582. In Bolam, the Claimant sustained fractures of the acetabula during a course of electro-convulsive therapy administered to him at the Defendant’s mental hospital. In considering whether the Defendant was negligent in the manner in which it carried out the treatment, McNair J confirmed that: “the true test of establishing negligence in diagnosis or treatment on the part of a doctor was whether … he has acted in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art” (p.587). As case law has developed, so have the principles underpinning the issue of breach of duty in medical negligence cases. This has led to a recognition that the Bolam test is not appropriate to apply in every case.’

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Ropewalk Clinical Negligence Blog, 20th April 2021