Stuff About Duty Of Care And Exceptions Notes
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1. Duty of Care • Every doctors owes a duty of care to patients in their hospital • However, what about third parties? E.g. relatives/public - these are dealt with under Caparo principles of negligence o Was it reasonably foreseeable that D's actions would cause the victim harm?
So if D prescribed medicine to X, who's granddaughter then found the pills in X's house and ate them • D would owe no duty to X's granddaughter - her actions would not be reasonably foreseeable. o Proximity WBA FC v El-Safty • Herring: result might have been different had WBA employed the surgeon directly and warned of the consequences of any negligence. At the scene of an accident?
• No duty unless contract of employment requires them to offer assistance o So GP who came across one of their patients in a car crash might be in breach of contract if they failed to assist or summon help. • If D begins to treat, assumption of responsibility towards them - so liable in tort o Public policy A duty only exists if it is just and reasonable to establish one. Palmer v Tees HA (dangerous sex offender patient released by psychiatrist, kills girl in his street - is there a duty to her?) • Stuart Smith LJ o While a defective machine will behave in a predictable way via the laws of physics and mechanics and therefore liability is owed to wider class of people • a human being will not, save in readily predictable circumstances o For humans, it is at least necessary of the victim to be identifiable, although it may not be sufficient, to establish proximity Smith v Jones [CAN]: X was referred to P to assess him, X having been told that his conversation would be privileged. X told P of his plans to rape, maim and kill prostitutes. P advised defence counsel of this, but while X pleaded guilty, defence counsel failed to introduce this evidence. P sought to breach privilege to get these facts disclosed. • Held o Three factors should be looked at in deciding whether public safety outweighs solicitor/client or doctor/patient privilege: (1) Is there a clear risk to an identifiable person or group of persons?
• Named persons/groups must be given greater weight, even if large,
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