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Law Notes Medical Law Notes

Organ Donation And Tissue Research Notes

Updated Organ Donation And Tissue Research Notes

Medical Law Notes

Medical Law

Approximately 1067 pages

Medical Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. These notes cover all the LLB medical law cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These were the best Medical Law notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through forty-eight LLB samples from outstanding law students with the highest ...

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1. Cases
  • Doodeward v Spence (1908) 6 CLR 406: M gave birth to still-born dual headed baby. A surgeon took the body and preserved it, later selling it at an auction. M then brought an action for recovery.

    • Griffith CJ:

      • Just because cannot own a corpse at death does not mean that it can never be owned.

      • A human body or portion of it is capable of becoming property; it is not necessary to give an exhaustive account of the circumstances in which this is the case but where a person has by lawful exercise of skill or work dealt with the human body so that it is different he may own it.

    • Barton J: Agreed with above but noted the gross indecency; also describes the baby as a monster.

    • Higgins J: Dissented on basis that he thought that human being cannot be owned, whether alive or dead.

  • Dobson and Another v North Tyneside Health Authority and Another [1996] 4 All ER 474: D collapsed at work and later died from brain tumours. During post-mortem the brain was removed and preserved by the doctor who delivered it to the hospital for storage. A brought action against H1 for a failure to diagnose early and then an action against H2 who had disposed of the brain, for damages because the claim against H1 was now harder to prove. Peter Gibson LJ:

    • Once a body has undergone a process or application of human skill, such as stuffing or embalming, it can be the subject of property in the ordinary way; hence it is submitted that conversion will lie for a skeleton or cadaver used for research or exhibition, and the same goes for parts of and substances produced by, a living person.

    • There is nothing to suggest that the actual preservation of the brain after the post mortem was on a par with stuffing or embalming a corpse or with preserving a human freak such as a double-headed foetus that had some value for exhibition purposes. There was no practical possibility of, nor any sensible purpose in, the brain being reunited with the body for burial purposes; thus no property was acquired in the brain.

  • R v Kelly [1998] 3 All ER 741: K (aritist) and L (junior techinician) removed a number of body parts which were then located in the house of K and in the basement of a flat belonging to friends. Rose LJ:

    • Affirmed above cases and the corpse rule. Thought in this case there was control and possession.

  • Yearworth v North Bristol NHS Trust [2009] EWCA Civ 37, [2009] 2 All ER 986: Six men diagnosed with cancer gave samples of sperm to be frozen and stored for their later use. The tanks which the sperm was stored in were not cold enough and the semen thawed. Men brought proceedings alleging depressive disorder as a result. The trust admitted breach of duty but denied liability. Judge CJ:

    • Damage to and loss of sperm does not constitute personal injury; this is a fiction and must deal in realities.

    • The concept of ownership is no more than a convenient global description of different collections of rights held by persons over physical and other things.

    • Developments in medical science now require a re-analysis of the common law's treatment of and approach to the issue of ownership of parts or products of a living human body, whether for present purposes or otherwise.

    • The easiest course would be to uphold the claims of the men to have had ownership of the sperm by reference to the principle first identified inDoodeward's case; there is no difficulty in concluding that the unit's storage of the sperm in liquid nitrogen was an application to the sperm of work and skill which conferred on it a substantially different attribute, namely the arrest of its swift perishability.

    • However, court was not content to see the common law in this area founded upon the principle inDoodeward's case, which was devised as an exception to a principle, itself of exceptional character, relating to the ownership of a human corpse. Such ancestry does not commend it as a solid foundation.

      • Moreover a distinction between the capacity to own body parts or products which have, and which have not, been subject to the exercise of work or skill is not entirely logical.

    • Conclusions are made on a broader basis. For the purpose of the claim in negligence there was ownership;

      • By their bodies they ejaculated sperm;

      • Sole object was that might be used for benefit in future.

      • Inability to direct the sperm does not derogate from the fact that they owned the sperm;

        • There are numerous statutes which limit a person’s ability to use their property;

        • Negative control, in the form of consent requirements remains absolute.

      • Act recognises a fundamental feature of ownership; that can order the destruction of it.

  • Evans v Amicus litigation (as a contrast to a property based approach): Couple consented to the freezing of embryos whilst F underwent treatment for cancer. When the treatment was over the couple split- M wrote to the clinic to say that they should be destroyed. F applied for legal proceedings to stop that happening as it was her only chance of having a child. Claim on the basis of statutory construction and in the alternative, the Human Rights Act.

    • Court adopted a continuing consent requirement but did not make reference to property rights.

  • Bazley v Wesley Monash IVF [2010] QSC (Aus): B was due to undergo cancer treatment and so had is sperm stored by the hospital. He later died and W made an application requesting that they continue to store the sperm. Issue as to whether had rights in his sperm which vested in his estate and beneficiaries upon death.

    • It defies reason to not regard tissue samples as property. Such samples have a real physical presence. They exist and will continue to exist until some step is taken. The conclusion, both in law and in common sense, must be that the straws of semen currently stored with the respondent are property, the ownership of which vested in the deceased while alive and in his personal representatives after his death.

    • The relationship between the...

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